Environmental Emergency

Volume IV Case Studies

          VOLUME ry
Prepared by the EPA Task Force
 On Environmental Emergencies

                                CASE STUDIES
                            Table of Contents
   Chapter                                                    Page

   Foreword                                                   i

   I. Flood of 1977—Johnstown,Pennsylvania                   1-1

  II. PCB Episode—Dittmer, Missouri/Wilscnville,
                   Illinois           .                        II-l

 III. Train Derailment—Rush, Kentucky                        III-l

  IV. Carbon Tetrachloride Episode—Ohio River                TY-1

   V. Chemical Wastes in Sewers—Louisville, Kentucky         V-l

  VI. Kepone Contamination—Hopewe 11,Virginia                 VI-1

 VII. Taconite Tailings/Asbestos Case—Duluth, Minnesota      VII-1

VIII. Chlorine Barge Incident—Louisville,Kentucky            VIII-1

  IX. Air Pollution Episode—Allegheny County, Pennsylvania   IX-1

     In October 1977, the Administrator  requested  the Office  of

Planning and Management to undertake  a comprehensive study of

the Agency's capabilities in preventing  and  responding  to envi-

ronmental emergencies.  An environmental emergency task force

was established to analyze the Agency's  activities, and in

December the work of the task force was  expanded  to include

the development of a Federal interagency plan  for  dealing with

chemical crises.

     The overall objective of the  task force is to address the

adequacy of Federal emergency performance in a number of areas,

including: notification procedures; assessment of  emergencies;

the nature of the emergency and  the resources  required  to ad-

dress the situation; immediate public health or environmental

protection actions; emergency enforcement actions; cleanup and

mitigation; disposal of hazardous  substances;  damage assess-

ments; cost recovery; and prevention  of  environmental emerg-

encies .

     Program considerations to be  analyzed include Federal, State,

and local government responsibilities; interagency coordination;

environmental response financing;  resource requirements; and  stat-

tutory authority.   As part of the task  force's analysis, the fol-

lowing case studies of previous  environmental  emergencies were


o  Natural disasters - Johnstown, Pa., flood, 1977.

o  Accidental spills - train derailment, Rush, Ky., 1973;

   waste oil and polychlorinated biphenyls, Dittmar, Mo.,

   Wilsonville, 111., 1977.

o  Accidental or contrived release in an area under EPA

   authority—chemical waste in sewers, Louisville, Ky.,

   1977; carbon tetrachloride industrial spill, Ohio River,


o  Accidental or contrived release in an area not under EPA

   authority—Kepone, Hopewell, Va., 1975; taconite tailings/

   asbestos, Duluth, Minn., 1973.

o  Potential emergency coordinated through the Federal Dis-

   aster Assistance Administration (formerly Office of

   Emergency Preparedness) chlorine barge incident, Louisville,

   Ky., 1972.

o  Emergency air episode-Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, 1975.

The cases were selected on the following basis:

o  If the adequacy of legislation, resources, organization,  and

   technology for responding to environmental emergencies could

   be determined.

o  If legislative authority was limited to legal remedies or

   technical assistance, contingency funds were not available

   for direct Federal action, the discharger was unknown or

   insolvent, and solutions were usually complex.


     o  If the direct inpact of a toxic substance was on human

        health with only secondary impact,  if any, on air, water,

        or land.

     It should be noted that some of the cases  involved hazardous

substances, and a common major issue was the lack of authority

under Section 311 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as

amended, since hazardous substances were not designated.  This

issue was partially resolved on March 13, 1978, when hazardous

substances were designated.  However, a problem still remains

because many materials capable of creating  an environmental

emergency were not on the initial list.



     The Johnstown, Pennsylvania, flood of July 1977  resulted

when 9 to 12 inches of rain fell within a 12-hour period.  Over

50 people were killed, and damage is expected  to exceed  $300

million.  In addition, the flood caused numerous spills  of oil

and drums of various hazardous substances into the Conemaugh

River system.

     Within 24 hours, President Carter declared eight counties

a major disaster area, qualifying the area for Federal assist-

ance.  The Federal Disaster Assistance Administration (FDAA)

immediately initiated a disaster relief program. Under Mission

Assignments from FDAA, EPA Region III and other Federal  agencies

carried out disaster assistance work.  One of  EPA's missions was

to make damage assessments of public utilities such as water and

sewage treatment facilities.  In addition, EPA responsed to the

spill situation, handling the oil spill response under Section

311 of the FV1PCA and the hazardous substances  work under Mission

Assignment from FDAA.

     Major problems surfaced as a result of EPA's response to

the Johnstown Flood.  One is the need to develop streamlined

contracting procedures to cover emergency situations. A mis-

understanding regarding proper EPA procedures  resulted in a 6

month delay in formalizing a contract with a cleanup  firm and


paying it for its work.  The other problem,  that  of  responding to

hazardous substances spills, has been partially solved by  promul-

gation of the list of hazardous substances.  Materials not on the

list could be handled under the emergency authority  in Section 504

of FWPCA, which Congress passed in December  1977.  Currently, there

are no funds to implement Section 504, which places  EPA  in a more

difficult position than during the Johnstown Flood because FDAA

will not fund operations where an agency has the  authority to take

mitigating action.


     The polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) episode involving  Dittraer,

Missouri, and Wilsonville, Illinois, started in March 1977 when the

Missouri Department of Natural Resources began investigating citizen

complaints concerning the dumping of oil and other unknown materials

into an open pit near Dittmer.  Asked for assistance, EPA  Region III

inspected the site and determined that an unreported oil spill had

occurred; in addition, samples taken at the  site  showed  high con-

centrations of PCEs. Oil and other materials had  spilled from the

open pit and were leaching into a nearby stream.  A  Federal action

to remove the oil contamination was declared unnder  Section 311 of

FWPCA.  Because of the absence of the hazardous substances list,

EPA lacked both the authority and financial  resources  to  clean up

the PCE spill.  EPA had to convince the Coast  Guard, the comptroller

of Section 311(k) funds, to allow its use for  the PCB removal effort,

which could not be distinguished  from the oil removal  operation.

This problem would not recur in the future, since PCBs are  on

the list of hazardous substances.

     The contaminated soil from the pit was placed  in  steel drums,

which were sealed and transported to Wilsonville for disposal at

a site operated by the Earthline Co. and properly permitted by

Illinois to accept the Dittmer wastes.  When the citizens of

Wilsonville heard of the proposed disposal, they obtained a temp-

orary restraining order from a local judge to prevent  Earthline

from disposing of the Dittmer wastes.  However, the wastes  were

eventually disposed of there.  The legal issues were argued before

a local judge; his decision is not expected until the  Fall  of 1978.

A ruling against Earthline is considered a distinct possibility.

This aspect of the PCB case is especially troubling because it may

impede implementation of Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation

and Recovery Act, which specifically calls for technically  adequate

facilities for disposal of hazardous wastes.  Should Wilsonville

succeed in opposing a properly permitted disposal site, other com-

munities may, in the future, follow a similar course of action.


     The derailment in October 1973 of 15 cars of a 5C-unit train

near Rush, Kentucky, led to a situation that threatened the entire

area.  Two cars containing acrylonitrile and five containing coke

caught fire.  A car containing caustic soda was leaking, and one

containing metallic sodium was punctured and smoking.  None

of those reponding to the derailment,  including EPA's On-

Scene Coordinator (OSC), were properly equipped with pro-

tective clothing or breathing apparatus.  Some acrylonitrile

was leaking into Williams Creek, so  the railroad  constructed

a dam to prevent further contamination.  However,  all aquatic

life downstream from the spill was killed.  Municipalities

were warned of the possibility of hazardous chemicals entering

their water systems, and two families, very near  the derail-

ment, were evacuated.

   The immediate threat was over the next day when the fires

were extinguished, the  acrylonitrile remaining  in one of the

cars was unloaded, and  the sodium car was repaired.  However,

during this period, the OSC and local officials differed over

the need to evacuate families from the general  area, the OSC

favoring evacuation. For the next two days after  the immedi-

ate threat passed, attention focussed on cleaning up and

monitoring of Williams  Creek and disposing of large quant-

ities of caustic mixed  with coke spilled near the derailment

scene.  The cleanup was largely carried out and financed by

the railroad.

     The potential for  a disaster fromm the derailment was

great.  Fortunately, the disaster was averted.   Still, the

incident highlights the need for EPA to equip  its personnel

adequately if  it is to  send them to  such  incidents. Further-


more, there is a need to clarify EPA's proper role  in advising

local authorities in matters  in which it  is  not  expert —

evacuation procedures, explosion hazards,  fire-fighting pro-

cedures, and structural in  tegrity  of tank cars,  for example.

Finally, there is the technical problem of whether  to try

to put out a fire involving a hazardous or unknown  chemical,

or to let it burn and run the risk  of producing  toxic air



     The case of carbon tetrachloride in  the Ohio River in-

volves three independent incidents  and actions that overlap

in time to constitute a single closely related environmental

emergency.  In September 1976, Region III received  data indi-

cating that the drinking water of Huntington, West  Virginia,

contained 10 ppb of carbon  tet.  Additional  sampling indicated

that the source was probably  in the area  where the  Ohio and

Kanawha Rivers meet.  Under Section 308 of FWPCA, inquiries

were sent to four major dischargers of carbon tet in the Ohio

Basin upstream from Huntington.  The inquiries required them

to participate in a 45-day  self-monitoring survey of their

effluents.  One of the companies, ETC Corp., participated only

under court order.

     Meanwhile, as part of  its research on water supply treat-

ment, EPA found that carbon tet levels were  increasing in

Cincinnati's raw and finished water. Following  up  on this


information, EPA in mid-February 1977 detected a 70-ton  slug

of carbon tet moving down the Ohio River.  Concluding that

the levels presented a threat to human health, EPA took  action

under the emergency section of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

EPA notified States and municipalities of the expected location

of the slug, but unfortunately the initial information proved

to be incorrect.  The slug was tracked until it dissipated  in

early March.

     The third incident involved a spill on February 27,  1977,

of 2 to 3 tons of carbon tet into the Kanawha River fran the

FMC plant in South Charleston.  Again, State and local entities

were notified of the spill and advised of precautionary  measures

to take.  The procedures for notifying States, and being certain

that the information got quickly to local water supply agencies,

worked much more effectively in this instance than with  the 70-

ton slug.  Still, the episode epitomizes a problem EPA will con-

tinue to face.  Carbon tet is one of many common chemicals  that,

though toxic, are not perceived by the public to be toxic.

Furthermore, the acute and chronic levels in drinking water that

pose a health risk have yet to be determined.  Thus, incidents

similar to the carbon tet episodes of 1977 may occur again.


     Sometime during March 1977, an unidentified toxic material

entered the Morris Forman Sewage Treatment Plant, which  threats

almost all of the sewage generated by the Louisville, Kentucky,

metropolitan area.  The plant, which is operated by  the Metro-

politan Sewer District (MSB), was forced to  shut down, and  32

employees required medical care, though none apparently suffered

after-effects.  The material was quickly identified  as a mixture

of two chlorine-containing organic compounds, both of which are

toxic when inhaled or if absorbed through the skin.

     Region IV was notified of the incident  when the plant  had

to send raw sewage into the Ohio River.  This notification  is

required under the discharge permit granted  the plant under

the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System. Region

IV personnel went to Louisville to provide technical assist-

ance to MSD.  Their sampling of the sewers and the analvses

performed by EPA's Athens Laboratory identified the  point

where the contaminant entered the sewers and established that

4 miles of sewers were contaminated.  The sewage treatment

plant and one section of sewer line were decontaminated, and

the plant reopened in June 1977.  However, more than 3 miles

of sewers remain to be decontaminated.

     Investigation revealed  that the contaminant was a waste

product from a Velsicol Chemical Company plant in Memphis,

Tennessee.  Velsicol had contracted for disposal of  wastes

with Chem-Dyne Corp. of Hamilton, Ohio, which  in turn, had

contracted with Kentucky Liquid Recycle, a small firm oper-

ating in the Louisville area. In June 1977,  Kentucky Liquid

Recycle was indicted by a Federal grand jury on  five  counts

of polluting a Federal waterway and interfering  with  the

operation of a sewage treatment plant.

     The most significant issue raised by the Louisville  in-

cident is what should be the Federal role in mitigation of

environmental emergencies not covered by Section 311  of FWPCA.

Even though the amendments to FWPCA passed  in December 1977

provide authority, no funds have been appropriated  to carry out

this authority.


     The contamination of the Hopewell, Virginia, area with the

pesticide Kepone, a chlorine-containing organic  compound, came

to light after Kepone was found in the blood of  an  employee of

Life Science Products, the sole manufacturer of  the pesticide.

The company sold all its product to Allied  Chemical Corp.  Event-

ually, more than 70 victims of Kepone poisoning  were  identified,

29 of whan had to be hospitalized.

     A sampling program carried out by EPA's Health Effects Lab-

oratory found Kepone in soil around the plant;  in the air as  far

as 16 miles from Hopewell; in the water, bottom sediments,  fish,

and shellfish of the James River, in some cases  as  far as 64

miles from Hopewell; and in sludge from Hopewell's  sewage treat-

ment plant.  Prior to the closing of the Life Science plant,  the

City sludge digesters malfunctioned several times because of  the

toxic effects of Kepone in wastewater from  the  Life Science plant.


   The Life Science plant was dismantled, and the contaminated

nated remnants were buried, along with other Kepone wastes,  at

the sewage treatment plant, ethods are now being evaluated  for

disposal of all waste materials.  Another unresolved problem is

the contamination of the Kopewell/James River area.  According

to the report prepared by EPA's Kepone Mitigation Feasibility

Project, the cleanup of the river may require billions of dollars

and entail a further difficult problem of disposing of contami-

nated sediments.  Without such a cleanup, the James River,  which

is now closed to fin and shellfishing, may have to remain closed

for decades.

     Five Federal laws had a bearing on operation of the Life

Science plant—FWPCA, Clean Air Act, Federal Insecticide, Fungi-

cide, and Rodenticide Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act,

and Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act—each with its own re-

quirements for compliance and a separate enforcement mechanism.

Efforts under the laws proceeded almost entirely independently,

with differing degrees of success.  Subsequent to the Kepone

incident, the Interagency Regulation Liaison Group has been set

up to develop a plan to coordinate monitoring for compliance

with Federal laws. Such a plan should reduce the likelihood of

recurrence of such an incident.

     The failure of water pollution control experts to recognize

the danger of the James River sooner is particularly noteworthy,

since the hazards to the environment of chlorine-containing


organic compounds are well known.  The problem with  the  sewage

treatment plant, however, may have tended to focus concern on

that more immediate matter.  Or the  fact that the State  of

Virginia was in the process of being delegated responsibility

under FWPCA may have confused the relationship between Virginia

and EPA.


     In June 1973, EPA found unusually high concentrations of

asbestiform fibers, which are suspected of being a health hazard,

in the western end of Lake Superior, as well as in the drinking

water supplies of Duluth, Minnesota, and other small communities

using water from that part of the Lake.  The fibers  are  believed

to originate in discharges from Reserve Mining Co.'s taconite

beneficiation plant in Silver Bay, Minnesota.

     At the request of the White House, EPA Region V set up  the

Duluth Asbestos Study Team, which also included representatives

of the Corps of Engineers  (COE), Geological Survey,  and  Council

on Environmental Quality, to examine the problem.  The Team

recommended development of technology for filtering  drinking

water.  Under an Interagency Agreement with EPA, COE undertook

a study to develop such technology.  With enactment  of the Safe

Drinking Water Act in 1974, demonstration grants became  available

for new treatment technology in crises areas.  Federal and State

funds were provided, and a filtration plant went into operation

in Duluth in late 1976.  The other communities  involved  have

either built filtration facilities or shifted to other sources

of drinking water.

     A problem in the early stages of the Duluth incident was

that local officials refused to believe that there was a problem.

This is perhaps understandable, since, as with  carbon tet,  there

is no definitive evidence on the acute and chronic health hazards

of asbestiform fibers.  Thus, EPA in the future may once again

find itself having to take action when it lacks adequate health

effects information.

     Since 1969, the Federal Government has been trying  to  force

Reserve Mining to stop discharging into Lake Superior.   At  the

request of EPA, the Government brought suit against the  company

in 1972 for violating the Refuse Act and Water  Quality Standards.

The next year, the State of Minnesota intervened in the  litiga-

tion, charging violations of air pollution control regulations

as well.  A series of Federal court decisions ordered Reserve

to institute activities to abate its pollution. These remedies

are still pending.


     In March 1972, a nine-barge tow on the Ohio River struck

Shippingport Island near Louisville, Kentucky,  and five  barges

broke loose.  A barge laden with four tanks, each containing 160

tons of liquid chlorine, presented a serious problem.  Drifting

downriver, it punctured its hull as  it struck a pillar of  the

HcAlpine Dam, part of a Louisville Gas and Electric hydroelec-

tric plant.  Because the barge was capable of releasing  a  cloud

of chlorine gas into Louisville just downwind, EPA recommended

that the National Response Team be activated.  The Coast Guard

assumed the role of On-Scene Coordinator  for river operations,

while the Office of Emergency Preparedness  (OEP)  coordinated

the efforts of other government agencies.  The Corps  of  Engi-

neers and Coast Guard decided the best course of  action  was to

stabilize the chlorine barge in position  and transfer the  cargo

to another barge.  While the barge was being stabilized, some

residents of the area were evacuated.  Unloading  of the  barge

was uneventful and was completed four weeks after it  became

lodged on McAlpine Dam.  Throughout  the  incident, EPA main-

tained air and water monitoring programs.

     Since hazardous substances had  not yet been  designated,

there was no authority under FWPCA.  Instead, at  the request of

the Governors of Kentucky and Indiana, OEP declared a disaster

and took charge of measures to protect the public should a

chlorine discharge occur.  In general, the  incident illustrates

the need for environmental emergency planning at  the  Federal,

State, and local levels.  Also, the  various levels of government

should identify executive authority  to ensure proper  and timely



     An air pollution episode in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania,

in November 1975 posed a serious health hazard to area residents.

The episode resulted from a stationary high pressure system  in

the Eastern third of the country, acting in conjunction with a

strong double-layered temperature inversion and very light winds.

The area hardest hit by poor air quality was the Liberty Eorough-

Clairton area.  The major source of particulates that contributed

to the episode appeared to be U.S. Steel's Clairton Coke I/forks.

The Allegheny County Health Department ordered U.S. Steel to take

action to abate its particulate emissions and advised Region III

of the situation.  The local plan for handling air episodes ap-

peared not to be adequate, so a Region III team went to Pitts-

burgh, prepared, if necessary, to activate Section 303 of the

Clean Air Act to further curtail air pollution.  Epidemiologists

and meteorologists from Research Triangle Park, North Carolina,

arrived to help gather information for an action under Section

303.  Later, the Administrator of Region III was on scene to co-

ordinate EPA's activities.

     Meetings between EPA and U.S. Steel resulted in the Clairton

Coke Works taking action that substantially reduced particulate

emissions.  This action unquestionably had a strong effect, even

though it did not occur as quickly as it would have if the local

plan had been adequate.  However, the primary factor that resolved

the crisis was the passage of the  front  and  changed  meteorological

conditions, which improved the atmospheric ventilation  of  the area.

Air quality returned to normal 4 days  after  the  episode began.


     The group that prepared the case studies included represent-

atives from the offices of Enforcement, Toxic Substances, Water

Planning and Standards, Water Supply, Water Program Operations,

Solid Waste, and Air programs.  Each office assisted in selection

of the cases, collection of information, and review of the draft

reports.  EPA Regional offices in Atlanta, Kansas City, and

Philadelphia were very helpful by providing the majority of the

information on five of the case studies.  In addition to the sup-

port provided by the EPA offices, the U.S. Coast Guard assisted

the task group by preparing one of the case studies.

     The support for each of the offices is greatly appreciated,

specifically the following individuals who prepared the draft

     Flood, Johnstown, Pa.

     PCB Episode, Dittmer, Mo.
       Wilsonville, 111.

     Train Derailment, Rush, Ky.,
     Carbon Tetrachloride Episodes,
       Ohio River

     Chemical Waste in Sewers,
     Louisville, Ky.

     Kepone Contamination,
     Hopewell, Va.
Paul Nadeau, OSMCD

Joseph Talerico,
Water Enforcement

George Moein, Region
IV; Russ Wyer, OSMCD

Tony Mayne, Water

Irene Kiefer, OSMCD
Gary Gardner, Region
III; Martin Broseman,
Water Planning and

     Taconite Tailings/Asbestos       -     Eleanor Merrick, Office
     Case, Duluth, Minn.                    of Toxic Substances

     Chlorine Barge Incident,         -     Lt. Happle, U.S.
     Louisville, Ky.                        Coast Guard

     Air Pollution Episode,           -     Gordon Rapier, Region
     Allegheny County, Pa.                  Ill; Doyle Borchers,
                                            Office of Air & Waste

     Special thanks to Irene Kiefer who prepared the final document

and the Executive Summary.



    In July 1977, a major flood caused by an estimated 9 to 12 inches

of rain within a 12-hour period created an emergency situation for

Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding communities (Figure

1-1).  Over 50 people were killed by the flood, which caused exten-

sive damage throughout an eight-county area.  In addition,  the

flood caused numerous spills of both oil and hazardous substances

into the Conemaugh River system.

    Within 24 hours, President Carter declared the eight counties

a major disaster area, qualifying them for Federal assistance.

The Federal Disaster Assistance Administration  (FDAA) esta-

blished two field offices and immediately implemented a disaster

relief program.  Under Mission Assignments from FDAA,

disaster assistance work was performed by the U. S. Army Corps

of Engineers (COE), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA),

and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).   Concurrent with

participation in the  FDAA program, EPA Region  m, in Philadelphia,

Pennsylvania, responded to the spill situation.  An EPA On-Scene

Coordinator (OSC) arrived in the area and immediately started the

cleanup effort.  The oil spill response was under the authority of

Section 311 of the Federal Water Pollution  Control Act of 1972

(FWPCA), while the hazardous substances  work was under a

Mission Assignment from FDAA.  Compounding the difficulty of the


                 CONEMAUGH RIVER
                   FCO FIELD OFFICE
                   EPA OSC COMMAND POST

work was the presence of explosive vapors throughout the spill

area.  This required special programs and procedures to protect

the response personnel and prevent additional damage.

    The total value of the damage caused by the flood is expected

to exceed $300 million, most of which will be offset by Federal

disaster grants and loans.  To date, FDAA has authorized a total

of $56 million in grants for restoration of public facilities.  Of

this total, $13 million was approved for water and sewage treat-

ment facilities surveyed by EPA personnel.  The spill response

team recovered 176, 000 gallons of oil, 500 cylinders of propane,

and 500 drums of hazardous liquids. EPA personnel spent 3, 323

man-hours on the Johnstown response; the total cost was $504, 000

(including contractor support),  of which $428, 000 was eligible for

reimbursement from FDAA and the Section 311(k) Revolving Pollu-

tion Fund.

    The EPA's response to the Johnstown Flood revealed two

major problems: EPA's need to develop a streamlined contracting

procedure to cover emergency response  situations, and the

pressing need for implementation of the Hazardous Substances

Regulations (Section 311 of FWPCA) and the Emergency Response

Program (Section 504). Minor problems concerning EPA's dis-

aster assistance organization and mobilization procedures are

now being reviewed by EPA program managers.


July 19-20,  1977

July 20,  1977
July 21,  1977
July 22,  1977
July 23-24,  1977

An estimated 9 to 12 inches of rain
result in extensive flooding along the
Conemaugh River in Johnstown, Pa.,
and surrounding communities.

Numerous oil spills caused by the
flood are reported to Region El,
Philadelphia, Pa.  EPA declares a
Federal Removal Action,  assumes role
of On-Scene Coordinator (OSC), and
activates the Regional Response Team.
EPA OSC retains a contractor to
commence spill recovery operation.
Federal Disaster Assistance Admini-
stration (FDAA) requests five EPA
personnel to report on July 21 to
conduct preliminary damage assess-
ments .

President Carter declares a major
disaster, making eight counties eligible
for Federal assistance.  FDAA esta-
blishes field offices to direct Federal
disaster assistance program.   Five
EPA personnel report on-scene to
begin preliminary damage assessments.
EPA OSC meets with officials from
FDAA, other Federal agencies, and
various State and local agencies to co-
ordinate EPA's spill cleanup efforts.
Pennsylvania assigns a representative
to OSC's operations team.  Spill
recovery command post set up and
initial recovery priorities established.

Coast Guard's Atlantic Strike Team
arrives on-scene to assist OSC with
spill recovery.

Routine coordination meetings continue.
FDAA requests EPA assistance begin-
ning July 25 to make damage surveys
for about 2 weeks.  Unidentified drums
containing various chemicals are noted
throughout flood area.  OSC receives

                           aerial photos of flood area to assist
                           with spill recovery.

July 25,  1977               EPA disaster assistance team,  including
                           five inspectors and one disaster assist-
                           ance coordinator, reports on scene to
                           begin damage inspection surveys.
                           Explosion at the Royal Plate Glass Co.
                           results in death of one employee,  high-
                           lighting explosive vapor problem in
                           Johnstown area.  Chemist from  Edison
                           Laboratory arrives on scene to help
                           coordinate hazardous substances/
                           explosive vapors response.

July 26,  1977               EPA operations team begins to  respond
                           to explosive vapors reports.  Meeting
                           held with Johnstown officials to develop
                           procedures to analyze and resolve
                           explosive vapors problems.  FDAA
                           verbally authorizes EPA to proceed with
                           hazardous substances response under
                           FDAA Mission Assignment.  Assignment
                           is limited to recovery, with Pennsylvania
                           being responsible for identification and
                           disposal. EPA retains oil spill recovery
                           contractor to recover hazardous sub-
                           stances.  Contractor told to maintain
                           separate cost records for all FDAA
                           work.  FDAA asks OSC to ascertain if
                           emergency  construction grant funds are
                           available to repair damaged treatment
                           facilities.   Administrator, Region ELI,
                           says they are not.  OSC offers use of
                           aerial photos plus interpretation
                           services to FDAA officials.

July 27,  1977               Bethlehem Steel approves use of a site
                           for temporary storage of drums of haz-
                           ardous substances.  OSC provides
                           status report to FDAA.  EPA team
                           meets again with Johnstown officials to
                           coordinate roles for explosive vapors

July 28,  1977               Coast  Guard contracting officer reports
                           on scene to establish split accounting
                           procedures for oil spill recovery  and
                           hazardous substances response.

July 29-31,  1977
August 2, 1977
August 2, 1977
August 3, 1977
August 8, 1977
August 22, 1977
August 24, 1977
August 19, 1977 -
 February 17,  1978
August 17, 1977 -
OSC participates in several meetings
to review status of the response and
establish payment procedures for
hazardous substances work.

Three additional EPA inspectors
report on scene to help expedite
damage survey work.  Explosive
vapors are traced to gasoline spill;
1, 300 gallons are recovered.  Storage
tank excavated  and flushed.

Meeting held at FDAA  HQ to resolve
issues regarding hazardous substances
recovery operations.   FDAA agrees
funding will be  retroactive to July  26.

Explosive vapor readings  are low
throughout Johnstown.  No further
problems anticipated.

Spill response work completed.  Con-
tractor demobilizes personnel and
equipment.  EPA representative
remains on  scene until August 11 to
assist FDAA with final coordination.

EPA receives official Mission Assign-
ment for hazardous substances response
from FDAA.

Damage assessment work completed.
EPA team discharged.

EPA formalizes contract for hazardous
substances response work. Contract is
awarded on  February 17.

EPA responds to FDAA requests for
additional damage and  final inspection
surveys.  Requests expected to continue
into foreseeable future.

Federal Authority

    The Federal Disaster Assistance Administration (FDAA) and

EPA had primary responsibility for the Johnstown response

program, FDAA under the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 (PL 93-288)

and EPA under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972

(PL 92-500).

   Disaster Relief Act of 1974

   PL 93-288 is the latest of a series of laws establishing a

Federal Disaster Assistance program.  Administered by FDAA, the

program provides for Federal assistance to State and local govern-

ments, certain private nonprofit organizations and individuals during

declared emergencies or major disasters.

   PL 93-288 is implemented by a series of Department of Housing

and Urban Development regulations.  Regulation 24 CFR 2205,

Subparts A-G, prescribe the standards and procedures to be fol-

lowed in  implementing the FDAA program,  24 CFR 2205, Subpart

H, prescribes procedures for reimbursing other Federal agencies

for disaster assistance work.  Of critical importance to the

Johnstown response is Paragraph 2205. 82(a), which states: "The

Administrator or the Regional Director (of FDAA) may not approve

reimbursement of costs incurrred while performing work under

an agency's own authority. " This was a key issue to be resolved

during the EPA-FDAA negotiations for funding the hazardous  sub-

stances recovery work.

   The FDAA assistance program is specifically intended to

supplement the efforts and available resources of the States, their

political subdivisions, and private relief organizations.

Examples of assistance to individuals include temporary housing,

emergency food and water,  unemployment payments,  and disaster

loans.  Assistance to municipalities includes debris removal and

the restoration of roads,  public utilities, buildings, and water

control facilities.  In administering the disaster assistance pro-

gram, FDAA coordinates the relief activities of all other Federal,

State and private disaster relief agencies.  In addition, FDAA is

authorized to direct any Federal agency to utilize its available per-

sonnel, supplies,  facilities, and other resources to support the

response effort.

    A sequence of actions is involved in the determination to

declare an emergency or  major disaster. The  key step involves

a request from the State Governor to the President through FDAA.

After the Presidential declaration, FDAA establishes field offices

in the affected area.  These offices are under the supervision of

the Federal Coordinating  Office (FCO), and are staffed with

representatives of appropriate Federal agencies.  On-scene

responsibility for the disaster assistance program is  divided

between the Regional Director, FDAA, and the  FCO appointed by

the FDAA Administrator for each declaration.  In the Johnstown

flood, EPA's damage assessments were under  the direction of

the Regional FDAA Director, and its spill response under the


    The FDAA may establish priorities for the response effort.

Generally, the first priority is to provide assistance to individuals

in the affected population.  Emergency work includes work neces-

sary to protect public health and safety and the general cleanup of

the affected area.   Permanent work includes a detailed assessment

of damages to and the restoration of public facilities.  Damaged

facilities are surveyed by a team consisting of Federal and State

inspectors and a local representative.  Federal inspectors are

selected from Federal agencies with specific expertise for various

categories of work (i.e., roads, buildings, utilities, etc).  The

damage eligible  for Federal assistance is documented on a Damage

Survey Report (DSR).  Once approved,  the DSR s form the basis

for submitting a project  application for Federal assistance.

    After the project application  is  approved,  FDAA monitors the

progress of the work.  FDAA may  request assistance from the

Federal agencies to perform interim inspections and a final inspec-

tion after  the restoration work is completed.  These inspections

are to ensure that the work is performed to required standards,

and that the  scope of the project  is  consistent with the approved

damage survey.   FDAA monitors the program until all eligible

facilities are restored and all the bills are paid.

    Federal Water PoUution Control Act of 1972

    PL 92-500 provides EPA with comprehensive authority to

develop and manage the nation's  water pollution control program.

Section 311 of the Act deals specifically with the control of oil and

hazardous substances.  The intent of Congress is expressed in

Section 311(b)(l), which states:  "The Congress hereby declares

that it is the policy of the United States that there should be no

discharges of oil or hazardous substances into or upon the navi-

gable waters of the United States, adjoining shorelines, or into

or upon the waters  of the  contiguous zone. "  Other provisions

included in Section  311  are spill prevention,  notification,  and

recovery, liability  requirements, and penalty schedules.

    The spill response authorities of Section 311 have been dele-

gated to EPA and the Coast Guard (USCG) in Executive Order

11735.  By mutual agreement,  EPA has assumed responsibility

for spills on inland waters, while the USCG is responsible for

harbors, coastal waters,  and the Great Lakes.   Spill response

procedures are guided by the National Oil and Hazardous  Sub-

stances Pollution Contingency Plan.  The purpose of the Plan is

to provide a coordinated Federal response capability to a dis-

charge of oil or a hazardous substance.  The Plan authorizes a

National Response Team (NET)  and a series of Regional Response

Teams (RRT),  and  also assigns specific responsibilities to

member agencies.  After a spill has been reported, either EPA

or the USCG will activate the Plan by designating an On-Scene

Coordinator (OSC).  The initial responsibility of the OSC  is to

encourage the spiller to take appropriate removal actions,  in

which case, the OSC assumes the role  of a monitor.  If,


however, the spiller refuses to take appropriate removal actions,

or the spill remains unknown, or the spill is caused by an "act of

God, " the OSC can declare a Federal removal action.  During

these situations, the OSC is empowered to take whatever actions

are necessary to contain and remove the spilled material. Tech-

nical and administrative support is available to the OSC  from the

RRT and the NRT.  Costs incurred during a Federal removal

action are paid from the Revolving Pollution Fund authorized by

Section  311(k).

    The following provisions of Section 311 were pertinent to the

Johnstown Flood:

    o Under the provisions of the National Contingency Plan,

      EPA declared a Federal Removal Action and assumed

      the role of Federal OSC.

    o The oil and hazardous substances spills were caused

      by "an act of God, " thereby precluding spill enforce-

      ment and liability actions.

    o Oil spill response costs were paid  from the Section

      311(k) Revolving Pollution  Fund.

    o The regulations designating the hazardous substances

      as required by Section 311(b)(2) were not promulgated,

      thereby precluding the use of the Revolving Pollution

      Fund for the hazardous substances  recovery work.

    During December 1977,  Congress passed a series of amend-

ments to the Water Pollution Control Act.  The amendments


included revisions to Section 311; however, the changes would not

have had any impact on the Johnstown spill response.   Congress

also enacted amendments to Section 504 of the Act authorizing the

EPA Administrator "... to provide assistance in emergencies

caused by the release into the environment of any pollutant or other

contaminant including,  but not limited to,  those which present,  or

may reasonably be anticipated to present,  an imminent and sub-

stantial danger to the public health or welfare. " A $10 million

contingency fund is authorized to carry out the provisions stated

above.  However, there are at present no  funds to implement

Section 504, placing EPA in a more difficult position than during the

Johnstown flood because FDAA will not fund  operations where an

agency has the authority to take mitigating action.

    Had the  new Section 504 provisions been  in effect and fully

promulgated at the time of the Johnstown Flood, the Administrator

could have made the decision to use the contingency fund to per-

form the hazardous substances removal work.  This point is still

speculative, because the criteria for determining "...  an immi-

nent and substantial  danger to the public health or welfare" have

not been established.

State Authority

    Information  on State authorities is included in "State Emer-

gency Powers for Hazardous Substances, " prepared under another

part of EPA's study on environmental emergencies.


    The Federal response to the Johnstown Flood disaster was very

comprehensive, as dictated by the variety of emergency situations

generated by the disaster.  FDAA,  EPA, and other Federal agen-

cies had statutory responsibility for specific parts of the Federal

response.  Additional support was provided by COE,  FHWA, and


Federal Disaster Assistance Program

    On July 21, 1977, President Carter declared the following

Pennsylvania counties a major disaster: Bedford, Blair, Cambria,

Clearfield, Indiana, Jefferson, Somerset,  and Westmoreland.  The

declaration was occasioned by "... severe storms and flooding

beginning about July 19,  1977. "  The disaster declaration qualified

the eight counties for Federal assistance under the Disaster Relief

Act of 1974.  The FDAA Administration designated an FCO and

immediately initiated a disaster relief program.

    The Johnstown Flood was a typical flash flood.  The 9 to 12

inches of rain that fell in the Johnstown area within a 12-hour

period caused the Conemaugh River and its numerous tributaries

to overflow their banks.  Johnstown was the hardest hit by the

flood,  but at least 24 other smaller communities were also badly

damaged.  As a result of the flood, 51 people died; 50, 000 people

were temporarily displaced; 1, 200 people were left homeless;

communications were cut off; electric power was out in many

   areas; roads, buildings,  and other facilities were severely damaged;

   and the entire flood area was inundated with mud and debris.  (See

   Figure 1-2.)

   Federal Disaster Response

       Two field offices were established to direct the Federal disaster

   response operation.  The Civil Defense Director for Pennsylvania

   was located on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania at

   Indiana, while the FCO and the FDAA Regional Director were located

   in Johnstown.

       The three Federal  agencies participating in the response opera-

   tion had primary areas of responsibility in FDAA's nine damage

   assessment categories (Table 1-1).

  Table 1-1.   Federal Agencies assigned responsibilities for Preparing
              Damage Survey Reports During the Johnstown Flood

     Categories                                      Agency

   A - Debris clearance                        Corps of Engineers
   B - Protective measures (emergency work)   Corps of Engineers
   C - Road systems                           Federal Highway
   D - Water control facilities                   Corps of Engineers
   E - Public  buildings  and  related equipment    Corps of Engineers
   F - Public  utilities (water, sewage
         treatment  facilities, etc.)              EPA

   G - Facilities under construction

   H - Priva
   I - Other
H - Private,  nonprofit facilities—
_!/ Assigned to one of the three agencies based on expertise required
   and availability of personnel.

EPA Response

    Five EPA Region El personnel reported on-scene on July 21

to make preliminary damage assessments ("windshield surveys")

for water and sewage treatment facilities.  The assessments

ranged from minor damage to selected lift stations to extensive

damage to reservoirs,  pipeline networks, and treatment facilities.

On July 23, FDAA requested EPA assistance to perform detailed

damage surveys for these facilities. An EPA response  team

consisting of one Disaster Assistance Coordinator and five inspec-

tors reported on July 25 and established a base of operations at

the University of Pennsylvania at Indiana.  Three more  inspectors

reported on August 2 to help expedite the damage assessments.

Each of the eight EPA inspectors worked with a State and a local

representative.  The teams were then assigned to survey damaged

facilities identified by prospective applicants for Federal aid and

prepare DSRs.   The EPA DAC directed the activities of the eight

teams.  Specifically, the DAC assigned inspection priorities,

scheduled the inspection teams, reviewed completed DSRs, main-

tained a log of overtime hours, prepared status reports, and

maintained liaison with FDAA. The EPA response team processed

more than 100 Federal aid applicants and prepared apprxoimately

400 DSRs with an estimated damage value of $9 million.

    The EPA damage assessment continued until August 24, when

the DAC and the last inspector were released by FDAA.  By that

time, approximately 2, 028 man-hours had been spent on the


response operation.  This estimate will increase over the next year

as FDAA requests Region El to perform followup damage surveys

and prepare final inspection reports as the applicants complete their

restoration projects.

    FDAA Region in indicated that it was very pleased with the work

of the EPA response team.  Team operations were well-coordinated,

and the DSRs were accurately prepared.  The EPA personnel were

highly motivated despite bleak working conditions, and they executed

their assignments in a competent and professional manner.

Oil and Hazardous Substances Response

      Initial Spill Report

    During the afternoon of July 20, EPA Region HI was notified of

an oil spill in the Johnstown area.  The report was made by a

representative of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental

Resources.  The  flood had caused the discharge of oil from many

sources into the Conemaugh River.   Oil was reported to be  "bank-

to-bank" in many areas. Initial estiamtes  of spillage were placed

at 10, 000 gallons -- enough to be designated a major spill under

the National Contingency Plan.

    Oil Spill Response

    Upon receiving the spill report, EPA Region HI dispatched an

OSC to the spill site to start the removal operation.  The spill was

caused by an "act of God, " and was of sufficient size to warrant a

Federal removal  action under Section 311.  Concurrently, EPA


Region IH also took the following actions:

    o A third party contractor was hired to conduct the spill

      removal work under the direction of the OSC.

    o The Regional Response Team was activated.

    o The USCG 3rd District was contacted regarding use of

      the Revolving Pollution Fund (Federal Project Number

      1-7-0056 was assigned with an initial funding ceiling of


    The criteria used by EPA Region El to select a spill recovery

contractor included rapid response capability, size of the equip-

ment inventory, number of trained response personnel,  and level

of available technical expertise.  The primary objective for large

spills is the selection of a contractor large enough (equipment and

trained personnel) to limit sub-contracting and with sufficient

technical expertise to minimize direct supervision by the OSC.

    Clean Venture,  Inc.,  a cooperative venture of six oil spill con-

tractors, was selected by Region HI for the Johnstown spill.  The

3rd District, USCG, negotiated a time and materials contract with

Sealand Restoration, a member of the Clean Venture cooperative.

Negotiations were based on standard rates included in a Basic

Ordering Agreement between Sealand and USCG.

    The EPA OSC arrived at  the Johnstown airport during the

evening of  July 20.  All modes of communication in the Johnstown

area were  inoperative, precluding contact with other disaster

response officials.  The spill recovery work officially began on


July 21.  The EPA OSC established a Command Post in Somerset,

Pennsylvania, 20 miles south of Johnstown.  (Somerset was selec-

ted because telephone communications were available.) The spill

recovery contractor arrived  on scene on the  21st. At the direction

of the OSC,  the contractor established a base of operations in down-

town Johnstown.  After initial meetings and a surveillance flight

over the area, the contractor's cleanup teams were dispatched to

the critical  spill sites.

    The EPA OSC requested operational support from the  USCG and

from EPA's Environmental Photographic Interpretation Center,

Warrenton,  Virginia.  The USCG Atlantic Strike Team arrived on

scene on July 21, and, at the direction of the EPA OSC, established

a base of operations at the Johnstown airport.  The team set up a

mobile cmmunications van and established a  communications net-

work for the spill recovery operation. The team also assisted the

EPA OSC by monitoring the performance of the spill recovery

teams and by providing other technical and administrative support

as requested by the OSC.  Aerial photographs were taken  of the

entire spill  area.  The photos were analyzed by experts at the EPA

lab and then hand-carried to  the OSC, who used them to develop

cleanup strategies, establish priorities,  and plan access routes.

Aerial photos and interpretation services were also provided to

FDAA to assist with its relief effort.

    As directed in the National Contingency Plan, the EPA OSC

was responsible for all decisions pertaining to the spill recovery


operation.  The OSC established overall cleanup strategies,

assigned priorities,  solved problems, and directed the recovery

contractor.  The OSC also spent many hours in meetings with

officials of other Federal, State, and local agencies to coordinate

EPA's spill recovery role with other disaster assistance work.

Routine status reports were provided to the FDAA's FCO,  who

had lead responsibility for coordinating the various Federal

response programs.

    Hazardous Substances Spill and Explosive Vapors

    During the oil spill recovery operation,  numerous propane

cylinders and drums containing various unidentified liquids were

found in the flood area.  Because the liquids were later identified

as hazardous substances and not oil,  they could not be removed

under the Section 311(k) Revolving Pollution Fund.  Compounding

this situation was the presence of explosive vapors throughout the

flood area.  An explosion at the Royal plate Glass Co. killed one


    To cope with the hazardous substances and explosive vapors

problems, the EPA OSC requested  a Mission Assignment from

FDAA and received verbal authorization to proceed on July 26.

This was subsequently confirmed by an official letter dated

August 22 and specifying a funding ceiling of $350, 000.  FDAA

initially was hesitant to fund the hazardous substances response

because FDAA regulations require  that agencies fund work within

the limits of their own statutory authority.  FDAA argued that the

Federal Water Pollution Control Act authorized EPA to respond to

hazardous substances spills, and that the lack of regulations desig-

nating hazardous substances was  an EPA administrative problem.

EPA's position was that the hazardous substances response had to

be performed, and that the only feasible vehicle for  accomplishing

the work was via a Mission Assignment.

    To expedite the hazardous substances response and minimize

coordination problems, the OSC retained the same contractor to

perform  the recovery work.  Split accounting procedures segre-

gated costs  charged to the  Section 311(k) Pollution Fund and the

Mission Assignment.   It was initially assumed that both the con-

tracting and the  coordination of final payments could be handled

by Region HI,  and commitments were made to the contractor to

initiate the work.  This assumption later proved incorrect because

the dollar amount commitment exceeded the emergency contracting

authority of the Region.  As a result, a contract had to be

negotiated between EPA Headquarters and the cleanup  company.

The OSC was required to solicit a proposal from the contractor

three months after the work was actually completed. In addition,

a justification for a noncompetitive procurement had to be prepared.

These documents were  subsequently reviewed and processed by the

EPA Headquarters contract staff.  A fixed price contract was

awarded to Sealand on February 17, 1978,  six months  after the

completion of the cleanup work.  This situation is currently being

reviewed within  EPA,  and  an emergency contracting procedure


will be developed for future EPA-funded response operations.

   To deal with hazardous substances, the EPA team took a number

of concurrent actions.  The spill recovery contractor collected and

removed the  drums of hazardous substances.  The drums were

stockpiled at a temporary staging area located at the Bethlehem

Steel facility. The State of Pennsylvania was  tasked by FDAA  to

identify the unknown liquids and dispose  of them in an acceptable

manner. Some drums were returned to  their  owners, while others

that could not be traced were placed in industrial waste landfills.

The cost incurred by Pennsylvania were reimbursed by FDAA  based

on a project application.

   After the Royal Plate Glass explosion, EPA and  Johnstown

officials took steps to prevent any more  such incidents.  Sixty-five

commercial and industrial sites were identified within the flood

area that might have hazardous materials present.  Each site was

subsequently inspected to see that no problems existed.  Where

needed, recommendations were made to the facility  owners. In

addition to the prevention program,  a procedure was established

to investigate reports of explosive vapors.  In coordination "with the

Fire Department,  each report was investigated with explosive

meters.  When positive readings were obtained, the problem was

traced to its  source and corrected.   One such report lead to the

discovery of a gasoline spill; 1, 300 gallons were  recovered and a

storage tank was excavated and thoroughly flushed.  At least 100

reports were investigated under this program.


    A chemist from the EPA Industrial Environmental Laboratory

in Edison,  New Jersey, was dispatched to Johnstown to assist the

OSC with the hazardous materials response.  This individual

directed the work discussed above and also  maintained close

coordination with State and local officials.  This organizational

feature again freed the OSC to direct and coordinate the entire

response effort.

    Spill Response Summary

    The oil and hazardous materials response was completed on

August  9,  1977.   As many as 80 people  (Federal, State, local, and

contractor employees) were directly involved during the peak of the

cleanup effort. A total of  176, 000 gallons of oil, 120 cubic yards

of compacted oily debris, 500 drums of hazardous liquids, and 500

propane cylinders were recovered.  Of the costs of the response,

$191, 000 was  charged to the Revolving Pollution Fund and $265, 000

was charged to FDAA.  A total of 1, 295 man-hours was expended

by EPA during the response operation.

    The total spill response effort was very complex.  Although the

various response operations (oil spill response, explosive vapors

inspections, etc.) can be divided into categories in a report to

improve clarity,  it does not reflect the  real world.  The EPA OSC

and the operations team were required to deal with these problems

on a daily basis.  Compounding the problem was the extensive

damage in the area which often precluded routine communications

and accessibility to problem areas.  As a result, the spill response

program required close coordination and careful directions to get

the job done while minimizing the risk to personnel.


State Actions

    Disaster assistance coordination within the State of Pennsylvania

is the responsibility of the State Council on Civil Defense.  When a

disaster occurs, the Council  is responsible for:

    o Performing preliminary damage assessments.

    o Compiling information to support a State request for a

      Federal disaster declaration.

    o Providing orientation to State applicants for Federal

      disaster assistance.

    o Coordinating the activities of other State agencies.

    o Providing State representatives for Federal/State damage

      survey teams.

    o Submitting project applications.

    o Supplying long-term  coordination of the relief effort.

In addition, the Council prepares and activates disaster operations

plans,  and maintains a network of Civil Defense coordinators in

local municipalities.

Disaster Response

    During the Johnstown Flood, the Council on Civil Defense per-

formed the general functions  listed above.  The State Disaster


Operations and Recovery Plans were both activated.

    Operational support was provided by the Pennsylvania National

Guard, the State Department of Environmental Resources (DER),

the State Police,  and a number of other agencies.  The National

Guard and State Police were involved in enforcing the Martial Law

declared by the Governor and providing emergency assistance to

the affected population.  DER had the most active relationship with

EPA during the disaster response.   DER officials participated in

the damage  survey teams for water and sewage treatment facilities,

and one DER representative was  assigned to the OSC's  spill opera-

tions team.  This helped coordination between the OSC  and the State

and local governments.  Finally,  DER was responsible for identi-

fication and disposal of  the hazardous materials recovered by the

spill contractor.

State Response Critique

    Eight days after the flood, the Speaker of the State House of

Representatives appointed an "Ad Hoc Committee on the Eight

County Flood of July 19-20, 1977. "  The Committee was charged

to "secure whatever information  you can concerning how the House

of Representatives may be helpful in alleviating the suffering

caused by this flood. " This was  subsequently broadened to include

recommendations to reduce the burden of future disasters.  The

Committee went to the scene for  an evaluation of the situation.  In

addition, it  conducted three days  of hearings with testimony from

State Cabinet Officers.


    The Committee determined that a severe lack of coordination

and cooperation plagued the State response effort.   Other problems

cited included communications,  failure to carry out disaster plans,

and the unavailability of disaster relief funds.   The Committee's

review has resulted in a "legislative package" that will be intro-

duced in the legislature during the  1978  session.  The proposed

bills include establishment of emergency funds to provide financial

relief to disaster areas.  The State has  also taken a more active

role in COE's flood control program and has initiated a State

program for management of flood plains.  These efforts  should

have the dual impact of reducing the probability of flood-related

disasters and improving the State's capability  to respond when a

disaster does occur.

    The Ad Hoc Committee Report  did not mention the Johnstown

oil  spill incident.  Apparently, the spiill lost its significance when

compared to the damage caused by the flood.  For this reason, it

is doubtful that the Johnstown Flood will provide any impetus for

new oil spill legislation.

Local Actions

    The response of the local municipalities was severely limited

by the  damage  caused by the flood.  For example,  the City of

Johnstown lost much of its communications and fire-fighting

equipment.  Despite this, the municipalities did help coordinate

the  disaster assistance programs within their  areas.  Each

municipality provided inspectors for the damage survey teams

within their areas.  In addition,  the Johnstown Fire, Health, and

Police Departments played an active role in investigation of the

explosive vapors problem.  Local personnel took the reports of

hazardous substances and explosive vapors at a Command Post in

the Mayor's office.  The reports were sent to the OSC's  operations

teams and given priorities on a "most-urgent-need" basis.  Each

report was then investigated by teams of EPA and local personnel.

Close coordination was maintained throughout the operation with

FDAA and DER officials.


    The response efforts of the private sector were primarily

directed at providing emergency services for  displaced residents.

Top priority was given to locating missing relatives, making

arrangements for the  dead,  and  salvaging homes and personal be-

longings.  Placed in this perspective, the EPA roles of spill

control and damage assessment were of minimal importance to the

local populace.

    Many of the local businesses did get involved in the hazardous

substances/explosive  vapors program.  Whenever possible,

chemical drums and propane cylinders recovered in the flood were

returned to their owners.  Other businesses took advantage of the

explosive vapors inspection program.  The gas and electric utility

companies worked closely with the EPA team.  Both utilties had

shut off service to the Johnstown area. Service was restored only

after areas had been certified to be vapor-free by the Fire Depart-

ment.  In addition, the gas company investigated all reports of

natural gas odors.  This systematic procedure helped to minimize

the risk of explosion.


Total Resources

    Considerable  resources were expended as a direct result of

the Johnstown Flood.  Included are personnel and equipment from

the numerous Federal, State, and local agencies involved in the •

response, personnel and equipment of private contractors, and the

local populace who worked to restore their homes and businesses.

Records  documenting the total resources expended as a result of

the flood were not obtained.  However, it is assumed that the

total could easily exceed 1 million man-hours.

EPA Resources

    The EPA expended about 3, 300 man-hours in its response to

the Johnstown Flood, of which 30 percent were for hazardous duty.

(Table 1-2.)  The EPA Disaster Assistance Program is executed

by the  Regions  on a collateral duty basis. Personnel are selected

based on their familiarity with the design and construction of

water and sewage treatment facilities.  For the Johnstown Flood,

response team  members were selected from various operating

divisions within Region DI.  The oil and hazardous materials spill


   TABLE 1-2.   EPA Resources Committed to the Johnstown Flood
Man-Hours Committed Spill Response
Hazardous Duty
Percent of Total
Disaster Assistance Total
Man-Hours Committed by Division:
Surveillance & Analysis
1110 •
!_/ Edison Laboratory and Public Affairs Division

response was conducted by the Environmental Emergency Branch,

Surveillance and Analysis Division,  EPA Region El.  Support was

provided by the Wheeling Field Office,  Surveillance and Analysis

Division,  and the Edison Laboratory.  It should be noted that the

spill response severely depleted the resources of the Environ-

mental Emergency Branch of the Surveillance and Analysis

Division.  Had another major spill occurred within Region III, it

is doubtful that an effective response could have been organized

without outside assistance.

Financial Aspects

    Flood Damage Costs

    The total damage caused by the flood is reported by the

Pennsylvania House  of Representatives to  be in excess of $300

million.  Financial relief to defray these losses will come pri-

marily from flood insurance and Federal grants and loans.

According to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives' Report,

these benefits are estimated at $25 million and $263 million, re-

spectively.  The public assistance grants approved by FDAA total

$56 million,  of which about $13 million were for water and sewage

treatment facilities processed by EPA inspectors (Table 1-3).  A

review of individual  DSRs showed repair estimates ranging from

less than $100 to more than $1 million.  These costs are indica-

tive of the types of facility restoration costs which could be

encountered during a Section 504 action.

    In addition, the State and local municipalities incurred

considerable expense in mounting the relief effort,  but these figures

are not readily available.
      Table 1-3.  Summary of FDAA Public Assistance Grants as
                  of July 1978.

            Category                       Dollars

               A                       $  7, 310,000
               B                       $  3,813,000
               C                        10,700,000
               D                         7,554,000
               E                 .        4,976,000
               F                        13,624,000
               G                           115,000
               H                         7,400,000
               I                           854,000

         Total public assistance         $56, 346, 000
    Finally, FDAA reimbursed the expenses of the Federal agencies

asked to participate in the response.  Except for EPA, these figures

were not obtained.  However,  it can be assumed that the expenses

of FHWA are roughly the same as those for the EPA disaster assist-

ance response.  COE had a larger role, and its expenses might be

equal to the EPA disaster response plus the hazardous substances


    EPA Response Costs

    EPA response costs total about $500, 000 (Table 1-4).  The

normal salaries of the response personnel are not eligible for reim-

bursement,  the rationale being that the agency would have incurred

the cost regardless of the response.  The cost is included in the



Nonreimbursi b ! e costs:
Regular Hours
Reimburs i b le costs
Hazardous duty pay
Per Diem
Subtota 1
EPA expenses to be reim-
bursed by Oil Spill Pollution
Fund or by FDAA
Total amount charged to Oil
Spill Pollution Fund and to
Total response costs

Oil Spi 1 1 Response
Hazardous Substances
Spill Response
$ 7,669
$191 ,000-S
$271 , I65-/

Disaster Assistance
$15, 808-/
$ 9,524
1 ,217

Totr- 1
1 ,455
$481 ,507
      Notes:  J_/  Based on salary for GS-12, Step 5, with a  10$ escalator for fringe benefits,
                    Equivalent to $13 per hour.
              27  Based on 60-40$ split between FDAA and Oil Spill Pollution Fund.
              3_/  Includes reimbursible expenses plus contractor costs.
              4/  Summation of $22, 568 and $481,507.
                             TABLE  1-4.  EPA Resoonse Costs for the Johnstown Flood.

this cost regardless of the response. The cost is included in the

$500, 000 as an estimate of the value of the normal work that was

not accomplished because of the response.  In tabulating the

reimbursible costs for the spill response,  it was virtually impos-

sible to differentiate between the oil and the hazardous substances

work.  For billing purposes, FDAA agreed to a  60/40 split, which

was based on the percentage of the  direct spill removal costs

charged to the MA and Section 311(k) Pollution Fund.


   The Johnstown Flood required a comprehensive response effort

by EPA. Neither the oil spill response nor the disaster assistance

response in themselves was very large.  But when the two were

combined, and added to the hazardous substances/explosive vapors

response and the general conditions prevailing in Johnstown, the
total problem presented a significant challenge to Region EH

response personnel.  Although on the whole the response was well

executed,  it was not without problems.

   The Johnstown Flood was unique for EPA, in that it involved a

variety of response actions.  Because of this, a number of new

problems were encountered. These are highlighted below so that

solutions can be developed and implemented in anticipation of

future  response actions.

Hazardous Substances Response

   Perhaps the most serious issue encountered during the


Johnstown Flood concerned funding for the hazardous substances

response.  Because the hazardous substances regulations required

by Section 311 were not promulgated, EPA was forced to negotiate

with FDAA for an MA.  FDAA was initially reluctant to provide the

MA because the hazardous substances response was within EPA's

statutory authority.  Had FDAA not provided the MA, EPA would

have had to fund the response out of its operating budget.

    Even if the hazardous substances  regulations  had been in effect,

they might not have been adequate for the Johnstown response.

Under the regulations, the use  of the  311(k) Pollution Fund for spill

response may be limited to designated substances.   During

Johnstown, many of the substances were unknown, and were not

identified until after they were  recovered. This raises the fol-

lowing questions:

    o Who pays for analysis to identify unknown substances ?

    o Who pays for analysis once it is known that the materials

      are not on the designated list ?

    o Who pays for the recovery of materials subsequently

      determined not to be on the designated list?

    o How will an OSC coordinate the recovery of hazardous

      substances drums when some contain materials on the

      list while others contain materials not on the  list ?

    During the Johnstown Flood, the following types  of materials

were recovered: propane cylinders, acetylene cylinders, and drums

of potassium permanganate,  sulfuric  acid, auto paint, motor oil,


chlorine-containing powders,  and degr easing solutions.  Of the

1, 000 drums and cylinders recovered,  less than 50 percent

contained materials  included on the list of designated hazardous

substances.  Applying this percentage to the hazardous sub-

stances recovery costs, $135, 000 may not have been eligible for

funding under the 311(k) Pollution Fund.  This total does  not

include the cost of chemical analyses to identify the unknown

materials, which was  done by the State under an MA.

    This case illustrates the need for negotiations between USCG

and EPA regarding use of the Pollution Fund prior to implemen-

tation of the hazardous substances regulations. The  regulations

were promulgated on March 13,  1978, and were scheduled to go

into effect on September 11,  1978, for vessels and on June  12,

1978, for all other facilities.  However, on August 12, 1978, the

hazardous substances  regulations were ruled to be invalid in  a

decision rendered by the U. S. District Court for the  Western

District of louisiana.  This case also illustrates the importance

of implementing the  emergency  provisions of Section 504.  These

provisions might have been applicable in Johnstown to finance the

recovery and analysis of the non-designated materials.  Together,

the  hazardous substances regulations and the Section 504 provi-

sions would give Regional OSCs maximum flexibility  to respond

quickly to environmental emergencies.

Emergency Contracting Procedures

    When FDAA verbally agreed to finance the hazardous substances

work, the EPA OSC immediately initiated actions to contract with

the firm performing the oil spill recovery work.  An EPA contract

was required because the FDAA funds were transferred directly to

EPA. A misunderstanding regarding proper EPA contracting pro-

cedures resulted in a six-month delay in formalizing the contract

and paying the firm for the recovery work.

    An EPA OSC normally uses USCG contracting procedures  for

response actions funded by the Section 311(k) Pollution Fund.  This

is possible because the USCG is charged with the responsibility of

administering the Fund.   Under the procedure, OSCs have "obli-

gation authority" up to $50, 000, which is sufficient  to engage a

contractor and start the cleanup operation.  Concurrent with this

action, the OSC will contact the appropriate USCG District Office.

Within a specified period,  a USCG contracting officer will contact

the contractor and negotiate a time and materials contract,  there-

by, formalizing the OSC's initial agreement.   Contractor selection

procedures will vary depending on the situation.  In areas where

a number of qualified contractors are available, selection may be

done on a rotational basis.  In most cases,  however, the selection

will be dictated by the size, location,  or complexity of the spill

the availability of qualified contractors.  In all cases, the author-

ity for sole-source, negotiated contracting is based on the "public

exigency" exception in Federal Procurement Regulations.


    The EPA has no comparable procedure.  The EPA OSC has no

authority to obligate EPA funds for an emergency response.  The

Regional Offices may initiate emergency procurements for $10, 000

or less, using small purchase procedures.  However, for larger

procurements,  Headquarters must be notified.  This requirement

could cause unnecessary delays during normal duty hours and is

totally unacceptable during off-duty hours.

    With the advent of the emergency funds in the 1977 Amendments

to FWPCA and the Safe Drinking Water Act,  it is imperative that

EPA develop a streamlined procedure.  The  USCG procedure has

proven effective in actual use and is well understood by EPA

response personnel.  Accordingly,  strong consideration should be

given to adopting it for EPA use.

EPA Disaster Assistance Response Organization

    During discussions with FDAA officials,  some minor problems

were noted in obtaining response commitments through the EPA

Region El DAC.  Responsibilities for disaster assistance coordi-

nation are placed too low in the organizational hierarchy to commit

resources and effectively mobilize a response.  Consequently,  the

FDAA request must be relayed up  the chain-of-command for action.

    To resolve this problem, EPA Regions should appoint a DAC

with sufficient authority to commit resources immediately and to

mobilize a response.   In addition,  the Regions should consider

appointing selected personnel to serve on a Disaster Response

Team.  Team alternates should also be designated to cover for

personnel on travel or leave.  The alternates could supplement

primary members during major response actions or provide

rotational relief during extended field operations.  Finally,  the

Region should establish procedures to ensure that Response Team

members  can be issued travel authorizations and advances on

very short notice.   Further guidance on these issues will be

included in the EPA Disaster Operations Manual, to be published

during Fiscal Year 1978.



    The Polychlorinated Biphenyl  (PCB) episode involving Dittmer

Missouri, and Wilsonville,  Illinois, (Figure n-1) is an example

of a timely environmental incident that raises the issue of local

resistance to the proper disposal  of hazardous materials, partic-

ularly those that originate in another State.  The study involves

two separate problems.  The first was the technical issue of proper

cleanup once the environmental contamination was known to exist.

This was largely an engineering problem that was handled by the

Environmental Emergency Branch of the Region VIZ Office in

Kansas  City, Missouri.  Subsequent to the cleanup operation, dis-

posal of the Dittmer waste material (soil contaminated with PCBs,

oil, and other chemicals) become  an issue.  The soil was sealed

in steel drums and shipped to a site in Wilsonville.  In a  highly

emotional atmosphere,  the citizens of Wilsonville filed suit against

the owner of the facility to prevent disposal of PCB-contaminated


    In March 1977, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources

(MDNR) began investigating citizen complaints concerning the

dumping of oil and other unknown  materials into an open pit near

Dittmer.  In early April, MDNR requested the assistane  of EPA

Region VII.   In its initial inspection of the site, EPA deter-

mined that an unreported oil spill  had occurred; in addition,

                     ST. LOUISA  WILSONVILLE

samples taken at the site showed high concentrations of PCBs.
The Regional Response Team (RRT),  activated under the
National Contingency Plan, inspected the site and discovered
sufficient evidence to declare a Federal action  to remove  oil
contamination under authority of Section 311  of the Federal
Water Pollution Control Act, as amended,  (FWCA).
    Inspection showed that oil and other chemicals had spilled
from  the open pit and were leaching into a nearby stream.  Use
of the Environmental Emergency Response Unit (EERU) in
Edison, New Jersey, was,  therefore, requested for treatment
of the stream.  The  stream was dammed above the spill site
and the  clean water diverted through plastic pipe and released
downstream of the pit.  Water continuing to seep through con-
taminated soil into the stream was contained below the pit by a
second dam and treated by the EERU.  A mobile lab was set up
for monitoring the treatment operation and to analyze various
samples.  The contaminated pit  soil was then excavated and placed
in steel drums, which were sealed and transported to Wilsonville
for disposal.  Safety precautions were necessary throughout the
operation to prevent exposure to the hazardous  substances.
    Excavation of the contaminated soil and treatment of the
stream water solved the environmental problem posed by the
Dittmer dump site.   The disposal of the material,  however,
created an additional and unanticipated problem.  Earthline Co. had
been authorized by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to


accept the Dittmer wastes at its disposal site.  When citizens

of Wilsonville learned of the action,  they obtained a temporary

restraining order from a local judge to prevent disposal of the

waste at the Wilsonville site.  After a lengthy court trial a

permanent injunction preventing hazardous wastes disposal  at

the Wilsonville site was granted.


March 24,  1977

April 4,  1977

April 5',  1977

April 7,  1977

April 8,  1977

April 11, 1977

April 12, 1977

April 13, 1977

April 18, 1977

April 22, 1977

April 25, 1977

April 29, 1977


Missouri Department of Natural Resources
(MDNR) begins Dittmer investigation.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) detected.
MDNR requests EPA assistance.

EPA inspects Dittmer pit.

Regional Response Team (RRT) meets for
first time; On-Scene Coordinator (OSC)
appointed.  Pit owner denies permission
for EPA to reinspect site.

Search warrant obtained.

Environmental  Emergency Response Unit
(EERU) arrives; cleanup begins.

Disposal contract signed with Earthline Co.

First wastes shipped.

Waste shipments  halted.

RRT meets for second time.

Removal of stream  debris begins.

Waste shipments  resume.

May 7,  1977

May 11,  1977

May 29,  1977

June 1,  1977

June 3,  1977

April 12,  1977

April 13,  1977

April 15,  1977

April 18,  1977

April 19,  1977

April 21,  1977

April 26,  1977

April 27,  1977

April 29,  1977

May 26,  1977

May 28,  1977

May 29,  1977

May 31,  1977

June 6, 1977
EERU released.

Mobile lab released.

Final wastes shipped.

Dittmer pit repairs completed.

Final RRT meeting; cleanup completed.



Disposal contract signed.

First waste shipment delivered.

Wilsonville citizens meet.

Wilsonville Temporary Restraining Order
(TRO) granted.  Wilsonville citizen suit
filed.  Waste shipments halted.

Earthline Co. moves to  dissolve TRO.

Earthline motion denied; Earthline appeals

Stay of injunction filed; TRO temporarily

Stay of injunction amended to allow  disposal
under certain conditions.

Waste shipments resumed.

Illinois Attorney General files suite against

Governor of  Illinois issues  moratorium on
disposal of out-of-State  wastes.

Final Dittmer wastes shipped.

Final delivery of wastes attempted.

Wilsonville trial begins.

June 8, 1977          EPA inspects Earthline facility.

June 21, 1977         Final waste delivery completed.

July 19, 1977         First draft of Earthline evaluation

October 15, 1977      Earthline evaluation completed.

December 16,  1977   Earthline evaluation submitted to court.

December 22,  1977   Earthline evaluation rejected.

August 14, 1978       Wilsonville trial ends;  Permanent injunc-
                      tion granted.


    Section 311(c)  of FWPCA authorizes removal of any oil or

hazardous substances that have been discharged into the navigable

waterways of the United States.

    Section 311(k)  of the FWPCA authorizes expenditure of funds

to eliminate the environmental insult caused by the discharge.

Furthermore, the party responsible for the discharge must either

assert that he will not initiate proper mitigating activities, or

determination must be made that the responsible party is in-

capable of initiating those  activities. The Dittmer episode

satisfied both of these criteria.  First,  oil within the disposal

pit was observed leaching  into a nearby creek, a tributary of the

Meramec River.   Oil originating in the pit  ultimately worked its

way into the river, navigable waterway as defined by FWPCA.

Secondly, EPA determined that the owner of the pit was incapable

of initiating proper mitigating activities. Consequently, Federal

cleanup was declared and the action financed by the Revolving
Pollution Fund provided by Section 311(k).
    With regard to the litigation surrounding the disposal aspect
of the case, the original complaint filed by Wilsonville citizens
was based upon a common law nuisance doctrine.  They argued
that the disposal of PCBs constituted a nuisance in that it repre-
sented an unreasonable hazard to the health of the community.
The Illinois Attorney General based his action on General Illinois
Statutes, Section 101 (d), Chapter 111, 1/2,  Illinois Revised Statutes,
which prohibit depositing on land any material that may ultimately
case water pollution.

    In March 1977,  MDNR received a citizen complaint concerning
the untidy operation of a disposal pit.   Located in Dittmer, the
pit was used for solid waste disposal conducted in conjunction with  .
a container reconditioning business.  The complaint,  about odors,
fire, obnoxious smoke, and the deteriorating water quality of an
adjacent stream, was investigated  by MDNR beginning on March
24.  The investigation determined that  various containers were
being emptied into a pit adjacent to an intermittent branch of
Calvey Creek, a tributary of the Meramec  River.  The containers
were then prepared for resale. MDNR took several samples of
material within the pit and forwarded them to EPA Region "VTI,
where  analysis showed high concentrations of PCBs (1. 8 percent).

On April 4,  MDNR requested EPA's assistance in resolving the
    On April 5, EPA Region "VH officials inspected the site and
found that a coverup of the disposal operation had begun.  All
containers had been removed, the top layer of soil had been
removed, the pit had been filled in,  and the area had been covered
with straw.   However, the inspectors did observe miscellaneous
dead aquatic life below the dump area.  The stream  adjacent to the
pit contained puddles of black oil, and oil films and sheens were
visible through an extensive section of the stream below the pit
area.  Stream sediment was observed, and an objectionable odor
pervaded the entire area.
    An emergency meeting of the RRT was held on April 7.  The
U.S.* Coast Guard (USCG), MDNR,  and Illinois EPA representatives
were also in attendance.  After discussion of observations made
at Dittmer,  an On-Scene Coordinator was appointed  and charged to
ameliorate the environmental insults caused by the Dittmer disposal
    That afternoon,  the RRT attempted to reconvene  at the  Dittmer
site to develop a response plan.  The owner of the property,  how-
ever, denied entry to the  site.  A search warrant was, therefore,
requested and obtained the evening of April 8.  In the meantime,
an experienced contractor was retained to dig exploratory trenches.
    On April 9, search warrant in hand,  the OSC returned to the
site with a backhoe operated by the  contractor.  Although the

area had been freshly covered with straw and dirt, there was

visual evidence that oil had entered the creek bed.  Three ex-

ploratory trenches were then dug,  yielding overwhelming evidence

of the existence of the disposal pit and further entry of oil into

the creek.  On the basis of these findings and the fact that the

site owner was incapable of a proper cleanup,  a Federal removal

action was declared by the OSC. The response plan called for:

    o  Installing a carbon  absorption unit to remove the con-

      taminants continuing to enter the stream through springs

      and washing from debris and sediment.

    o  Building two dams.  The upper dam  was to contain the

      clean, uncontaminated stream water, which would then

      be diverted around  the pit and released  downstream.

    »  The lower dam was to contain the contaminated water

      for treatment by the EERU.

    o  Assembling, through a contractor,  an experienced crew

      with equipment to excavate and package the contaminated

      soil in the pit.

    o  Locating a secure landfill, with proper  permits from MDNR,

      accept the contaminated soil.

    Cleanup began on April 11 as personnel and equipment, in-

cluding  EEHU, arrived.   On April 12,  a contract was signed with

Earthline for disposal of the waste; and on April 13, the first

truckload of contaminated soil was  sent to the  company's landfill

in Wilsonville.

    The soil was contaminated with a complex mixture of many
materials.  An oily substance was evident in the pit, floating
in the stream, and retained by debris and sediment in the
stream.  PCBs had already been identified as a major contami-
nation in the mixture of oil and solvents.  As the work pro-
ceeded it became apparent that the original estimate for the
cleanup ($50, 000) would be greatly exceeded. This was due to
the large amount of soil that had to be excavated and the need to
remove contaminated debris from the stream.
    A second RRT meeting was held at the site on April 22 to
consider expanding the  cleanup effort.  Team members viewing
the site realized the disposal pit operator supplied misleading
information.  The area was much larger  than originally reported;
the sdil in places was so saturated with oily materials  that oil
collected in pools in the pit,  and drums buried in the pit ruptur-
ed when handled during removal attempts.  Although the dam/
by-pass arrangement was effectively reducing the amount of water
requiring treatment, the debris continued to contaminate the
stream water, and  had  to be removed.  On the basis of these
observations,  it was agreed that the Revolving Pollution Fund would
apply until all oil was removed.
    On April 25,  removal of stream debris began.  This material
was incorporated into the pit soil and packaged for landfill dis-
posal.  The EERU had to be released for  other work so the OSC,
designed a filtration and carbon absorption unit for installation  on the

stream bank; construction of the unit was completed on May 6 and

the EERU was released the next day.  First analysis of effluent

from the filter unit indicated that 98 percent of the contaminants

were removed.  The operation was then routine, and the mobile

lab was released on May 11.   The last drums  of contaminated

soil were removed on May 29.  A total of 4, 318 55-gallon drums

of excavated material were removed during the  operation.

    Repairs to the pit were begun by filling it with clay exca-

vated from a nearby bank. The clay was firmly packed, then

covered with bentonite, which was stabilized with another layer

of firmly packed clay.   These repairs were completed on June 1.

On June 3, a final RRT meeting was held to affirm the completion.


    State and local involvement in the Dittmer episode was minimal.

In response to a citizen complaint, MDNR initiated an investigation

into the activities at the Dittmer disposal site.  MDNR quickly

determined that the scope of the problem was beyond its capabil-

ity and requested the assistance of EPA.  Once  EPA assessed the

problem and determined that  a Federal cleanup  action was neces-

sary, the operation was conducted totally under Federal auspices.

Missouri's assistance in the operation was limited to locating a

suitable  site for disposal  of the contaminated  soil.

    During the disposal stage, both the Village of Wilsonville

and the State of  Illinois became actively involved in attempts to

prevent the disposal of the Dittmer wastes at Wilsonville.   These


activities took the form of legal action and are described in de-
tail in the following section.

    The primary public response to the activities surrounding the
Dittmer episode came in the form of citizen opposition to the
disposal of the excavated Dittmer wastes. Earthline (a subsidiary
of SCA Services, Inc., Headquartered in Boston) owns and operates
a landfill for chemical wastes in Wilsonville, a village of 700 located
in downstate Illinois, approximately 50 miles northeast of St.  Louis.
earthline was selected because if was a duly permitted site that
could safely contain chemical wastes and it was close to the Dittmer
    On April 13, the first truckload of excavated waste was
shipped to Earthline for disposal.  When  the citizens of Wilsonville
learned of this,  they  became enraged.  The leader of the oppo-
sition was a local minister who had been  preaching about the
danger posed to the community byPCBs.  The Wilsonville resi-
dents learned that PCBs were a highly toxic  material and regarded
disposal in their community as unacceptable.  On April 15,  a public
meeting organized by the minister attracted  particially the entire
village, as well as residents from the surrounding area. The meeting
focused on the health hazards posed both  by transporting PCBs
through Wilsonville en route to Earthline and by disposing of the wastes
at the nearby Earthline facility.  The atmosphere of the meeting was
highly emotional; the participants became very vocal in their oppo-


sition to the PCB disposal.  This fervor was translated into a legal
reality by two actions taken on April 18.  First,  the citizens of
WilsonvUle requested and obtained a temporary restraining order
(TRO) from a local judge to halt the disposal of PCB wastes at the
Earthline facility. At the same time the citizens and other parties
filed suit against Earthline for the same purpose.  The suit charged
that the Earthline disposal operation constituted  a nuisance and repre-
sented a hazard to the health of the Wilsonville community.  The
plaintiffs in the case are the citizens of Wilsonville, Macoupin
County, and the Macoupin County Farmers Association.  The defend-
ant is the Earthline Company.  The Illinois EPA and U.S. E'PA
were granted status as  amicus curiae,  friends of the court.
    Earthline responded on April 19 with a motion to dissolve the
TRO. 'On April 21, the motion was  denied and Earthline  appealed
the decision in an appellate court.  On  April 27,  the appellate
court amended the-TRQ and allowed shipment of the wastes to
continue with certain restrictions.   Earthline was required to post
a $1 million bond to cover the costs of  removal of the PCB wastes
in the event it lost the Wilsonville citizen suite; waste deliveries
were allowed only between the hours 8:00 a. m. and 4:30 p. m.,
with Saturday and Sunday deliveries prohibited; and Earthline was
not permitted to bury the wastes normally but  only to cover them
temporarily.  This latter restriction was lifted on July 18.  Waste
shipments resumed on April 29 and the Wilsonville trial was
scheduled to begin June 6.

    These events generated a substantial amount of publicity.
The situation was reported on a national evening news broadcast.
Illinois officials came under increasing pressure to protect the
public from what was perceived as a serious threat to the public
safety in the form of hazardous waste disposal facilities located in
the State.  On May 26, the Illinois Attorney General (who  had been
representing the  Illinois EPA in its position as amicus) filed suit
against Earthline to terminate its waste disposal  operation com-
pletely. This was a broader action than that of the Wilsonville
citizens; their suit was restricted to PCB disposal. The Attorney
General's action was based on an  Illinois statute prohibiting
depositing materials on land which may cause water pollution; the
suit contends materials buried at  the Earthline facility leach into
and p611ute ground water.  This suit was combined with the
citizen suit,  and the combined action was to be argued before the
same local judge who had granted th original TRO.  On May 31,
the Governor of Illinois imposed a 45-day moratorium on  impor-
tation of hazardous wastes into the State for disposal in Illinois
    These events further impeded the disposal of the Dittmer
wastes.  The last shipment arrived at Earthline on May 31.
The  recent action of the Attorney  General and Governor of Illinois
had no bearing on the legality of the disposal of the Dittmer  wastes,
which had been duly permitted a month earlier.   That,  however,
was  not the understanding of the citizens of Wilsonville. As the final

delivery was attempted, Wilsonville residents blocked the entrance
to the Earthline facility and demanded that the trucks turn around.
The OSC was supervising this delivery; an he decided it would
be in the best interests of all concerned to accede to the demands
and store the wastes elsewhere.  Final delivery was subsequently
made on June 21 without incident.

Trial Issues
   The central issue at the trial focused on the technical ability
of the Earthline facility to dispose of hazardous materials in a
safe and environmentally sound manner.  The basic arguments of
the plaintiffs were:
   o  The possibility of adverse chemical reactions between
      incompatible wastes accepted for disposal by Earthline
      presents a danger to the Wilsonville  community. Specific-
      ically, they have raised the prospect  of explosion and
      chemical fire that would generate toxic fumes.
   o  The geological character of the soil underlying the Earthline
      site is not suitable for safe disposal  of hazardous wastes.
      The argument focuses on the danger  of leaching, which
      would lead to ground water contamination.
   o  Through its permit procedure, the Illinois EPA did not
      properly evaluate the geological suitability of the Earthline
      facility as a site for safe disposal of hazardous wastes.
   o  Odors and dust from the daily activities performed at
      Earthline are hazardous to local health.


    To support its contentions, the plaintiffs relied heavily on
expert testimony to defend their  arguments scientifically.  Pre-
senting their own expert witnesses, the defendants argued that the
Earthline disposal permits were granted through proper administra-
tive procedures and based upon adequate technical analysis.  In
addition,  EPA personnel have testified on various technical issues.

EPA Involvement
    The case is  of concern to EPA primarily due to the impact
it may'have on the implementation of Subtitle C of the Resource
Conservation  and Recovery Act (RCRA),  which addresses proper
disposal of hazardous wastes.  Successful public opposition to
new or existing  hazardous waste  disposal facilities  could impede
development of an environmentally acceptable  disposal system,
a major RCRA goal.
    An EPA strategy  in the case  has been slow to emerge,  and
EPA involvement has been restrained.  This is due primarily to the
peculiar circumstances of the affair.  First, the entire political/
emotional atmosphere surrounding the trial indicates that it is
likely that Earthline will lose the case.  Since Earthline will surely
appeal an adverse decision,  EPA rejected active involvement at
the trial level in favor of a possibly more active role in an appellate
    Second,  although  the continued operation of proper  hazardous
waste disposal facilities is in the interests of EPA, stating that

interest with regard to Earthline is awkward.  Any statemet con-

cerning the technical adequacy of the Earthline facility must be

based on criteria defining how  "proper" hazardous waste disposal

facilities must operate.  Those criteria are to be specified in

regulations promulgated under RCRA Subtitle C.  However,  prom-

ulgation is not expected until July 1978.  Therefore,  EPA has no

official criteria upon which to base a technical evaluation of

Earthline for the purpose of determining its adequacy as a dis-

posal site.

    This particular problem has been partially overcome. On June

8, 1977, at the request of Illinois EPA, U.S.  EPA inspected the

Earthline facility.  This inspection, coordinated by the Office of

Solid Waste in Headquarters,  included representatives from the

Office«of Toxic Substances, the Solid and Hazardous Waste Research

Division,  EPA Region V and VTX, the Illinois State Geological

Survey, and Earthline.   The inspection formed the basis of report

(Technical Evaluation Team Report) which evaluated the technical

ability of Earthline dispose of  Dittmer's PCB wastes adequately.

The criteria used by the evaluation team were those  contained in

the PCB Marking and Disposal Regulation published in proposed

form on May 24, 1977.   As defined by that regulation, Dittmer

wastes constitute a PCB mixture.

    The first draft of the report was completed on July 19, with

the final report released in mid-October, 1977.  That report

endorsed the ability of the Earthline facility to dispose of PCB-

contaminated soil in  an environmentally acceptable manner,


although it identified several operational shortcomings.  On

December 16, EPA, in its amicus capacity,  made a motion to

enter the report into the Wilsonville trial record.  That motion

was denied.  It should be noted that the report evaluated Earthline

solely on operational  criteria specified in the proposed PCB

Regulation. The issue in Wilsonville, however, had broadened

from  PCB disposal to hazardous waste disposal.

    On August 14, 1978,  the Wilsonville trial concluded.  A per-

manent injunction was granted preventing Earthline from  disposing

hazardous wastes at its Wilsonville site.  In addition,  Earthline

was ordered to remove all hazardous wastes currently buried at

the site.    '   •


    The Revolving Pollution Fund provided about $500, 000 for the

cleanup at Dittmer:

         Administrative  costs

              RRT meeting                   $ 2,328.80

              EPA I/                         18,205.81

              Gulf Strike Team,  USCG          9, 409. 59

         Contractor^/                        331,331.13

         Earthline fee                        105, 253. 53

         EERU                                44,326.80

         Miscellaneous                           845.00

_!/  Lab work, per diem, and overtime expenses incurred at  Dittmer.

2j  Charges for excavating equipment, safety equipment and  20

    men at Dittmer site throughout cleanup.


_2/  Charges for excavating equipment, safety equipment,  and 20

    men at Dittmer site throughout cleanup.


    The Dittmer episode involved a discharge into a navigable

waterway of both oil and hazardous substances,  primarily PCBs.

At the time for the episode, however, EPA had not yet developed,

as required by Section 311 of FWPCA, a list of hazardous sub-

stances.  Therefore, the 311(k) fund could finance a cleanup

action only in the event of oil contamination.   Ironically, the

presence of PCBs in.high concentrations, not the presence of oil,

made the timely cleanup of the Dittmer contamination particularly

desirable. Had the quantity of oil present been insufficient to

invoke a Section 311 response, while at the same time high  con-

centrations of PCBs were present,  it is questionable whether EPA

could have responded properly. The owner of the Dittmer pit had

neither the resources nor the expertise to cleanup properly and

dispose of PCBs; the State of Missouri had no resources to  deal

with the problem; and in the absence of hazardous substances reg-

ulations on oil,  EPA had neither the authority nor the financial

resources to initiate cleanup activities.

    Another issue emerging during the episode involved USCG's

role as  comptroller of the Section 311(k) fund. Whenever EPA

requests fund to finance a cleanup,  USCG must approve the  expen-

diture based upon criteria contained in Section 311,  particularly

that an oil discharge has occurred.  In the Dittmer case and on


other occasions, the presence of hazardous substances has been a
more critical factor than the presence of oil.  On those occasions,
USCG has "stretched" the oil criteria to allow cleanup of a
hazardous substance discharge, although EPA has had to argue
convincingly to allow use of the revolving fund. After the
initial cost estimate of $50, 000 had been expended in the
Dittmer cleanup, USCG was reluctant to authorize additional
funds to complete the operation, believing that Dittmer was
more a PCB contamination problem than an oil spill problem.
The primary purpose of the second RRT meeting was  to convince
USCG that sufficient quantities of oil had been spilled  to auth-
orize use of the Section 311(k) fund.  Although that meeting
demonstrated that an oil spill had occurred, it was  clear to  all
parties'that the hazardous substances contamination was the factor
requiring timely cleanup.

    The highlight of this case  focuses on the power of  citizenry
aroused by the prospect of disposal of hazardous wastes within
its  community.  Subtitle C of RCRA relies of establishment  of a
hazardous waste  "cradle-to-grave" management system.  An
important element of that system is the "grave, " or disposal
facility. A shortage of technically adequate hazardous waste
disposal facilities now exists  in the United States.   Therefore,
it is in EPA's interest to provide a climate wherein new facilities
will be built and existing facilities  will upgraded to  meet standards


promulgated under RCRA.  This climate can be seriously eroded

by successful public opposition to the use of properly permitted

disposal sites.  The situation in Wilsonville must be understood

within the context.  In addition, it is generally agreed that Earth-

line operates one of the better facilities of its kind  and that Illinois

EPA oversees one  of the better State waste disposal programs;

yet a legal decision adverse to Earthline has been made raising the

further possibility  of similar actions in the future.   Continued local

opposition to the siting of disposal facilities could thwart a  major

goal of  RCRA and materially increase the difficulty in properly

implementing and enforcing the Act.



   About 6 a.m. on October 30,  1973,  15 cars of a 50-unit train

derailed in a rural area aboutjfour miles west of Rush, Kentucky,

in Carter County near the Boyd County line (Figure ni-1).   Two

tank cars containing acrylonitrile and five containing  coke caught

fire.  Two families were evacuated from the area near the

wreakage, and  500-foot-long strips at both ends of the little valley

where the accident occurred were cordoned off.

   Shortly after the derailment,  State policemen at the site

reported that acrylonitrile from one of the cars leaked into  adja-

cent Williams Creek.  Vegetation along Williams Creek, a

tributary of the Little Sandy River, was burned away  near the

wreakage, and  firemen reported,  "at one time the .creek was even

on fire. " Members of the  Boyd County Rescue Squad canvassed

the area about two miles below the stream to warn residents not

to consume water and to keep livestock away from the stream.

   U. S. Coast Guard (USCG) officials were the first  Federal

officials on scene and concurred with the railroad's proposal to

construct a dam on Williams Creek to prevent further contamina-

tion.  Initially,  the USCG was unsure what the effects would be on

water life downstream.

   Railroad officials traced the beginning of the derailment to a

tank car laden with an oil product.  According to  a railroad


representative,  a bearing box overheated and caused the axle to

malfunction.  The 15 derailed cars were about in the middle of

the train.  Other cars were loaded with dog food, aluminum

sheets, coke, caustic soda, and metallic  sodium.

    At 7:00 a.m. on October 30, the Chesapeake and Ohio Rail-

road Co. in Ashland, Kentucky, informed EPA's Region IV

Office in Atlanta, Georgia,  of the  derailment.  The initial call

suggested that the materials spilled were petroleum products,

coke, and metallic  sodium.   Later during the day, EPA contacted

the railroad office in Ashland,  but did not receive .adequate infor-

mation on the exact products spilled.   An EPA representative

arrived at the derailment at 10:00 p.m. and assumed the role of

On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) in accordance with the National

Contingency Plan.

    It was clear to the OSC, after  quick evaluation of the problem,

that the situation was extremely hazardous.  Sodium exposed to

rain,  burning and fuming acrylonitrile, and thousands of gallons

of caustic soda soaked in the ground - all threatened catastrophe

to the nearby community. The OSC requested that railroad offi-

cials and police keep the people as far away as possible from the

scene of the incident until additional information was obtained on

the spilled products.

    At 11:15 p.m.,  the OSC  requested that Region IV alert the

Regional Response  Team and warn the municipalities along

Williams Creek, Little Sandy River,  and Ohio River of the


                                      \LITTLE SANDY RIVER

possibility of hazardous chemicals entering their water systems.

    The OSC advised the local Civil Defense representative to

evacuate the immediate area until the fire in the acrylonitrile tank

cars could be extinguished and the remaining product unloaded, and

until the ruptured car containing sodium was repaired.  Between
1:30 a.m.  and 4:00 a.m. on October  31, Civil Defense authorities

evacuated families  in the immediate area. The families returned

to their homes on the afternoon of October 31, contrary to advice

provided by the OSC.  The OSC further asked Region V, in Chicago,

to sample the Ohio  River and to coordinate its activities with the

State of Ohio's officials who were concerned about contamination

of drinking water along portions of the Ohio River.   The OSC called

the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources and Environmental
Protection to discuss EPA's sampling plan and request assistance.

    After the cars containing acrylonitrile and sodium were

removed from th6 scene, the immediate threat was over.  Within

the next two days, EPA's actions concentrated on cleanup and

monitoring of Williams Creek and disposal of caustic soda near

the road side.  Kentucky's Division of Solid Waste advised the

railroad on methods for disposing of  the large quantities of caustic

soda mixed with coke.  The State's sampling of local wells

revealed no acrylonitrile in drinking  water.  The EPA samples of

Williams Creek and Little  Sandy River indicated 190 milligrams

per liter (mg/1) of acrylonitrile behind the dam,  15 mg/1 less than

a mile downstream, and no detectable amount at the confluence of


Williams Creek and Little Sandy River.  The concentration dropped

steadily as filtration, aeration, and dilution factors took effect.

Samples taken by Region V and the  State of Ohio along portions of

the Ohio River detected no acrylonitrile.  EPA and the State of

Kentucky continued to monitor and sample Williams Creek until

acrylonitrile was no longer detected.  No enforcement actions were

taken,  and the case was closed on November 9,  1973.


October 30, 1973
October 31, 1973

Fifteen railroad cars derail near Rush,
Ky.,  discharging acrylonitrile to
Williams Creek.  Civil Defense  and
Kentucky Highway Patrol evacuate two
families and cordon off portions of the
valley.  Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad
Co. notifies EPA Region IV of derail-
ment.  County Rescue  Squad warns
local  residents not to use water  and
keep livestock away from creek. U. S.
Coast Guard representative arrives on
scene and as first Federal official
assumes role of OSC.  Official of
Kentucky Department of Fish and Game
observes dead fish in Williams Creek.
EPA representative arrives on scene
and assumes role of OSC as per
National Contingency Plan.

Upon  advice of OSC, Civil Defense
evacuates 150 people within 11/2 miles
of derailment.  Regional Response
Team alerted.  OSC requests EPA  air
and water monitoring experts.  OSC
meets with County Health Department
and Kentucky Air Pollution officials
and requests assistance in  air moni-
toring.  Neither office has  monitoring

October 31, 1973
October 31, 1973
November 1, 1973
November 2, 1973

November 9, 1973
State Fire Marshal overrules OSC and
orders Civil Defense to return evacuees.
OSC meets with Kentucky Air and Water
officials who agree to assist with water
monitoring experts arrive on scene.
EPA air expert recommends reevacu-
ation of one family nearest acrylonitrile
car. Civil Defense representative agrees.
Fire in acrylonitrile car is  extinguished
and unloading starts. Water monitoring
plan and cleanup methods established for
Williams Creek.

Emergency Response Section of Ohio
EPA hears of derailment via commercial
radio broadcast.

EPA and Kentucky start to sample wells
and streams.  Activated carbon, peat
moss,  and aeration used to  start cleaning
stream.  Ohio EPA notifies Ohio Office
of Public Water Supply to advise City of
Portsmouth to apply activated carbon.
Ohio National Guard flies activated carbon
to Portsmouth.  Ohio EPA predicts 1, 000
mg/1 acrylonitrile to reach  Ohio River
and pass Portsmouth water  intake by noon
on November  2. EPA Region V notified
of incident and possible need to monitor
Little Sandy River and Ohio River for
acrylonitrile. Local laboratories unable
to handle water  samples.  Arrangements
made to send  samples to EPA Athen Lab-
oratory. All railroad cars  removed from
scene and track repaired.  Stream cleanup
continues.   Kentucky's Division of Solid
Waste agrees to bury caustic soda and
coke in railraod right-of-way.  EPA
reports 190 mg/1 of acrylonitrile at dam
and none where Williams Creek and
Little Sandy River meet.

Carbon placed in filters in Portsmouth.

No acrylonitrile detected in stream
samples.  Railroad notified to terminate
cleanup operations.



    The EPA and USCG response actions were carried out in

accordance with the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollu-

tion Contingency Plan (40 CFR 1510).

    The procedures for on-scene coordination are contained in

Section 1510-36 of the National Contingency Plan.  EPA is

responsible for furnishing OSC's for inland waters, while the

USCG is responsible for coastal waters and the Great Lakes.  In

this particular case, the USCG provided the initial OSC.  After

arrival of the predesignated EPA OSC,  the response actions were

turned over to EPA.  The procedure is consistent with  Section

1510. 36(a)(l) which specifies that the first official on the site from
an agency responsible under the Plan shall assume coordination of

the activities until arrival of the predesignated OSC.

    At the time of the incident, the key regulations for hazardous

substances under Section 311 of the  FWPCA were not promulgated.

Therefore,  even though EPA took actions under the National

Contingency plan and statutory authority existed, the lack of regu-

lations restricted the authority of the EPA OSC.

State and Local Authority

    Information on State authorities  is included in "State Emer-

gency Powers for Hazardous Substance, " prepared under another

part of EPA's study on environmental emergencies.  In practice,

the Kentucky State Police are generally the first to respond to

the scene of an accident.  The troopers secure the scene and call

the Fire Marshal.  When the Fire Marshal arrives, the troopers

turn over control.  The Marshal convenes  local police and fire

personnel, troopers, and other emergency staff in temporary

command post.  If a local community needs assistance, it  calls

on the Kentucky Department of Emergency Services.  The  depart-

ment provides shelter,  food, medical care, and other necessities

where evacuation or major damage has occurred,  and also coordi-

nates efforts whenever two State agencies cooperate in disaster


    Personnel from Kentucky's Division of Water Quality in the

Bureau of Environmental Protection have traditionally taken the

lead environmental role.  However, in  some cases, the closest

representative of the Bureau will be dispatched to evaluate the

scene regardless of division.  The Bureau has no  comprehensive

contingency plan for environmental emergencies.  The Division

of Hazardous Materials and Waste Management, new in the

Bureau, has no contingency fund,  and personnel have no special

equipment, protective clothing, or breathing apparatus.  Person-

nel on site usually defer to the Fire Marshal until the immediate

danger has passed, then generally arrange for disposal.of  spilled

material and supervision of cleanup efforts by the spiller.

Kentucky has no approved hazardous waste disposal site.

Spill Response
    At 7 a.m. on October 30, 1973, an official of the Chesapeake
and Ohio Railroad Co. informed EPA's Region IV Office of a train
derailment in the vicinity of Rush at 6 a. m.  The initial informa-
tion received was sketchy,  suggesting minor problems associated
with spillage of petroleum products, coke, and metallic sodium.
The caller also mentioned some fire in the area, apparently due
to burning coke on the ground.  Later  during the day,  EPA con-
tacted railroad officials to obtain additional information.   A
railroad official indicated that some personnel were on scene,
but could not furnish any additional information.
    At 2 p.m., in accordance with  the National Oil and Hazardous
Substances Pollution Contingency Plan, EPA dispatched a Federal
On-Scene Coordinator to investigate and to initiate any actions
deemed necessary.  At 6:08 p.m., the OSC left Atlanta's  airport
for Lexington,  and then drove from Lexington, a distance of some
130 miles, to Rush.  After three hours, due to heavy fog and rain,
the OSC reached Morehead,  about half-way to Rush.  Region IV
informed him that the principal product spilled near Rush was
acrylonitrile, a highly poisonous and flammable material.  Due
to the late hour, Region IV did not  have access to EPA's  data
bank, OHMTAD,  to provide the OSC with detailed information on
toxicity and other pertinent  data related to acrylonitrile.

    The OSC arrived at the train derailment at Grant Station, a few
miles outside the small community of Rush at 10 p.m.  The State
Police blocked off the county road paralleling the railroad track a
few hundred yards before the derailment area.  From this point,
great quantities of smoke and fire were visible at the accident
site.  Walking the remaining distance, the OSC noted many parked
vehicles belonging to the local Police Department,  Highway Patrol,
Highway Department, C&O, and Fire Department.  A rescue squad
car was also in the vicinity.  Closer to the  derailment area were
fire engines and large earth-moving equipment.  Many people, in-
cluding several firemen,  were standing near the derailment area.
One car containing acrylonitrile was on fire and smoking.   Other
derailed cars were on both sides of the railroad track,  some
smoMhg. A peculiar odor similar to caustic soda mixed with
burning coke was noticeable in the air.  During the evening, there
was light steady wind; rain mixed with snow fell occasionally.
    The first impression of the  situation was one of general con-
fusion,  with people milling around, rather than urgency.   The
first order of business was to assemble as  many informed people
as possible  and to assess the problem thoroughly.  The OSC
managed to  locate and ask representatives of the USCG,  C&O,
Civil Defense,  and Fire Department to meet with him immediately
in the railroad telegraph office approximately two miles from the
scene.  This small,  one-room office with a wood-burning stove
had the only telephone in the area.  Railroad officials allowed the


OSC to share this office with the dispatcher and to use the phone

whenever it was free.

    During the initial meeting,  the USCG described a massive fish

kill that occurred on Williams  Creek at approximately 3 p.m. of

the day of the derailment.  The USCG and railroad officials had

constructed an underflow dam across Williams Creek during the

afternoon, thereby containing come of the spilled materials.  This

dam proved to be extremely helpful during the containment and

removal phases.

    Railroad officials provided  a list of derailed cars and the

quantity and type of materials spilled (Table EEI-l).
                         Table EI-1
        Materials Lost in Rush, Kentucky, Derailment

Car Number  Contents                     Quantity Lost

    1          Oil                          Negligible
    2          Antiknock materials          None
    3          Empty
    4          76, 400 pounds of coke        All
    5          74, 600 pounds of coke        All
    6          81, 800 pounds of coke        All
    7          400 pounds of coke            All
    8          99, 900 pounds of coke        All
    9          Scrap aluminum              None, later salvaged
   10          Metallic sodium              None, car punctured
   11          Liquid caustic soda           All, but not to stream
   12          41, 682 gallons of             All burned or spilled
   13          41, 356 gallons of             3, 683 gallons burned
                acrylonitrile                 or spilled
   14          Dog food                     None
   15          Empty

The acrylonitrile and metallic sodium belonged to E.I.  duPont de

Nemours and Co. in Memphis,  Tennessee.  The company sent two

technical experts to the scene.

   The debriefing made it clear that the  situation was extremely

hazardous.  Sodium exposed to rain,  burning and fuming acryloni-

trile, and thousands of gallons of caustic  soda soaked in the ground

- all threatened the entire community.  The OSC requested techni-

cal information on toxic properties of acrylonitrile from the

participants in the meeting.  The only information available was  a

page out of the CHEM CARD Manual and a page from the USCG

handbook.  Railroad and other officials  were advised to keep the

people as far away as possible from the scene until additional

information could be obtained on the spilled products.

   At 11:15 p.m.,  the OSC called the Region IV Environmental

Emergency Branch and requested that the Regional Response Team

be advised of the  incident but the team would not need to report to

the scene.  The OSC also recommended that Region IV warn the

municipalities along Williams Creek, Little Sandy River,  and

Ohio River of the possibility of hazardous chemicals entering their

water systems.  Region IV advised that this had already been done

via telegram and TWX messages to appropriate offices.  At 11:30

p. m., the OSC called the Chief of Operations Branch of the

Division of Oil and Hazardous Materials of EPA Headquarters and

requested that the National Response Team be advised of the inci-

dent.  A printout  of data from OHMTADS was also requested.


The Chief of Operations Branch called back about midnight after

consulting the data bank and two EPA chemists.  The consensus

of opinion was that acrylonitrile in open burning state could

combine with other gases in the atmosphere, releasing a cyanide

gas.  EPA's Air Emergency Group in Athens, Georgia,  was con-

sulted and concurred with the EPA Headquarters data and offered

additional suggestions.

    Between midnight and 1 a.m. on October 31,  the OSC

reassembled the group  in the railroad telegraph office and stated

that under present circumstances it would be advisable to evacuate

the immediate area until the fire in the acrylonitrile tank was

extinguished, the remaining product unloaded,  and the ruptured

car containing sodium repaired.  Although the OSC strongly
recommended evacuation to Civil Defense representatives, the

immediate reaction of C&O and DuPont officials was negative.

After consulting with an EPA air expert in Athens, the OSC again

advised Civil Defense of the hazards and suggested that the DuPont

representative assume  full responsibility for the safety of the

local people. The DuPont representative refused to do so.

    Between 1:30 a.m.  and 4:00 a.m., Civil Defense evacuated

families in the immediate area.  Later,  some of the evacuated

families indicated that they were happy to leave the area,  and

most spent the night with friends or relatives with minimum


    During the early hours of the morning, the OSC met again with
C&O and DuPont officials to plan how to contain and remove the
spilled materials.  The OSC expressed concern over the lack of
protective  clothing,  masks, and similar apparatus for the cleanup
crew and responding firemen.  Someone said that there was no
reason to worry because the crew was experienced.  Finally, the
group decided that the immediate priority was to extinguish the
fire, repair the sodium car,  and remove the remaining acrylo-
nitrile and the sodium car from the area.  Later, as soon as
personnel could safely approach the creek, the dam would be rein-
forced and treatment of contaminated water started by filtering
it through peat moss.
    At 7:30 a.m.,  the OSC returned on the site.  In the daylight,
he saw that the fire on the previous day had burned both banks
of Williams Creek for a distance of approximately 75 yards.  The
surface of the water looked greenish-white, with blotches  of oil
floating on top.  The dam was firmly  in place,  but the rain during
the  night had added water to the creek. Puddles of a thick
brownish liquid of caustic soda mixed with coke were on the  side
of the railroad track parallel to the road.  The acrylonitrile car
was still aflame;  a tarpaulin was wrapped around the sodium
protruding from the ruptured car.
    Shortly after 7:30, railroad personnel and the cleanup  crew
began to arrive.  A decision was made to obtain peat moss,  acti-
vated carbon, and several large pumps for filtration and aeration


of the creek.  The OSC called Region IV to discuss the possibility

of contamination of Little Sandy River and Ohio River, as well as

water wells in the immediate area.  The OSC decided to start

extensive and systematic sampling of water.  Further, Region V

in Chicago was requested to sample the Ohio River and to coordi-

nate its activities with Ohio officials who were concerned about

possible contamination of drinking water along portions of the

Ohio River.  The sampling plan was discussed with the Kentucky

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.

The State provided excellent support and assistance,  both for

sampling and other field activities, throughout the incident.  The

OSC requested the assistance of a biologist,  a chemist, and an

air pollution specialist from EPA in Athens.  Additional assist-
ance was requested from EPA Headquarters,  which provided

two people, one  a biochemist.  They arrived on scene in the after-

noon via a chartered flight,  bringing with them the much needed

OHMTADS printout of data related to the spilled materials.

    The OSC also handled a large number of inquiries from  con-

tractors, some as far  away as Illinois, who were interested in

cleanup activities, insurance agents, members of the press, and

local authorities wanting to know when the evacuation would end.

    During mid-afternoon, the OSC explained to a Civil Defense

official  that as soon as EPA's experts  arrived from Athens, they

would evaluate the air pollution problem and recommend a safe

time for evacuees  to return.  At this time, two local officials


informed the OSC that,  in spite of an extreme hazard in the area,

they had asked Civil Defense to move the people back to their

homes, some of which were only 500 yards from the scene.  The

discussion soon turned to philosophical topics such as State's

rights vs. government interference in local affairs.  Further dis-

cussion would have been useless  and harmful to the  morale of the

dedicated  crew, some of whom had been working round-the-clock

under adverse conditions.  The OSC left the scene immediately and

notified Region IV of the latest problem.  The Regional Office con-

tacted a high State official to explain EPA's concern for the safety

of local people.  The State official quickly intervened and the OSC

was  asked to return on scene.

   Later  in the afternoon of .the 31st, EPA's team of experts from
Georgia and Washington arrived on scene.  Their survey of the

area revealed that:

   o The fire in the acrylonitrile car was extinguished.

   o  The sodium car,  which had a hole approximately  1 foot

       in diameter, was  smoking.

   o  Within a few feet was a car leaking  acrylonitrile into

       the roadway.  The entire upper side of the car was

       steaming,  apparently because the acrylonitrile was

       reacting.  Unless the pressure building up in the

       tank was relieved, it could explode  within a few hours.

   o  Within a few feet of the leaking acrylonitrile car, a

       caustic soda car was leaking.


    o Damage was extensive within a radius of approximately

      100 yards.  The paint was blistered on the front of the

      house across the street from the derailment.  The

      front windows were cracked, and some had melted from

      the heat.

    o A car and pickup truck parked approximately 10 feet

      from the train were destroyed from the heat of burning


    The EPA air pollution air expert recommended reevacuation of

the immediate area.  This was. discussed with the Civil Defense

representative who asked one of the returning families in the

immediate area to stay away until conditions were safer.

    Early in the evening, the crew started unloading of the leaking

acrylonitrile car.

    During the evening and early morning hours,  State,  EPA,  and

railroad officials met several times to arrange the sampling

program and to devise methods to clean up Williams Creek.

    The next morning,  November 1, State and EPA personnel

began to sample Williams Creek, Little Sandy River, and the wells

in the immediate area.  Several farmers along Williams Creek had

been warned earlier not to allow their livestock to drink from the

creek.  Samples were taken twice a day, and the  farmers were

advised of the findings.  EPA attempted to locate a gas chromato-

graph (GC) in a nearby university for analysis of  the samples.

However, EPA chemists on scene questioned the  reliability and


accuracy of this GC.  Finally, it was decided to send the samples
to Athens every day for analysis and evaluation.  EPA and the
State of Kentucky continued sampling and monitoring the affected
areas until November 9.
    Large quantities of peat moss and activated carbon for the
cleanup of Williams Creek were hard to find in the immediate
area.  However, C&O officials managed to purchase the entire
stock from a local nursery.  Large quantities of peat moss were
placed behind the dam as the filtering agent. The contaminated
peat moss was  removed periodically and replaced.  Several large
pumps and hoses placed at intervals along the creek sprayed water
up into the air and on the sides of the creek to aerate the water.
These, operations continued for several days.
    The unloading of the acrylonitrile tank car required several
additional hours.  Close examination of the  tank car revealed
some startling  features.  The upper side was highly oxidized due
to the high temperature inside.  Approximately one-third of the car
was normal in shape.  The middle third was approximately three
inches wider in diameter than normal.  The last part next to the
sodium tank was even more distorted. It was obvious that if the
car had not  been unloaded during the night,  it would have exploded
in the early morning hours.
    With removal of acrylonitrile and sodium cars from the scene,
the immediate threat was  over.  Within the  next two days,  efforts
were concentrated on cleanup and monitoring of Williams  Creek


and removal and disposal of caustic soda mixed with coke.  The

State sampling of local wells revealed no acrylonitrile contami-

nation of drinking water.  The EPA samples of Williams Creek
and Little Sandy River indicated 190 mg/1 of acrylonitrile behind

the dam,  15 mg/1 less than a mile downstream, and no detectable

amount at the confluence of Williams Creek and Little Sandy River.

The  concentration dropped steadily as filtration, aeration, and di-

lution factors took effect.  Samples taken by Region V and the

State of Ohio along portions of the Ohio River detected no acrylo-

nitrile.  EPA and the State of Kentucky continued to monitor and

sample the Williams Creek until no acrylonitrile was detected.

Air Pollution Response

    On,October 31 at about 1:00 a.m., an EPA air pollution

expert at Athens received a telephone call at his home from the

OSC.  The.expert recommended that residents within a 1/2 to 1-

mile radius be evacuated.  At 9:00 a.m., the OSC called again to

explain that the State Fire Marshal and the DuPont people were

uncooperative and he would appreciate assistance on the  scene.

The EPA air expert  arrived  at the site about 6:00 p.m. and was

concerned that no DuPont experts were available to  discuss inter-

mediate combustion  products from open burning of acrylonitrile.

Also, a representative of the Association of American Railroads

tried to convince the EPA  expert that acrylonitrile  was absolutely

not dangerous and that the best experts were on hand to handle the

situation.  Further discussions were unfruitful.

   After a discussion with the OSC, the EPA expert recommended

that the area be evacuated again.  Advised of the hazards, the

Assistant Chief of Civil Defense, who was also Assistant Fire

Marshal for the State of Kentucky, was cooperative but confused.

He wanted to protect the local people,  but the State Fire Marshal

and the railroad people assured him there was no danger.  The

local residents had already returned to their homes,  one of which

was within 300 yards  of the derailment.  The people within approx-

imately I/2'mile were asked to evacuate the area again until the

acrylonitrile car was under control.

   On November 1, the EPA air representative met with a DuPont

expert, who was cooperative but noncommittal.  However, a repre-

sentative of the Chief Engineer's Office of the C&O Railroad in

Huntington,  West Virginia, who toured the area,  commented that

he would not want to be in Huntington (17 miles away) when one of

the acrylonitrile cars exploded.

   During the night,  one tank truck had been loaded with acrylo-

nitrile and loading of  a second had started.  At approximately  2:00

p.m.,  an employee of Hulcher Emergency Railroad Service, Inc.,

was splashed in his face with acrylonitrile while  loading a tank

truck.   Although he wiped it off and then washed his face with water,

he shortly became so sick that he could hardly walk.  When this

was called to the attention of the C&O personnel, no one seemed



   After this incident, a minister who supplemented his income

as a truck driver for Chemical Leaman Tank Lines, Inc.,  became

very sick when his truck was being loaded.  He asked the EPA

representative  if the acrylonitrile would hurt him.  He said the

DuPont people and the railroad people had told him that it would not.

   The EPA air representative was very concerned by the attitude

of the people on the scene.  Protective clothing and breathing appa-

ratus were not  being used.  Within a very few minutes after one

man walked past the leaking caustic soda car, the soles came off

both his shoes.  The workers were unaware of the potential danger

of acrylonitrile.  the railroad,  contractors, and DuPont were not

providing public information, needlessly jeopardizing many

people's lives and promoting a  poor working relationship among all
parties concerned.

Biological Survey

   On October 31,  an EPA biologist arrived at the site of the

derailment and met with Kentucky State personnel. A repre-

sentative of the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources and

Environmental  Protection said  he had arrived on the scene around

noon.  Following Williams Creek downstream for about a mile

from the spill site, he saw numerous dead minnows and other

small fish,  as well as dead crayfish and worms.

   The EPA biologist also met with two fishery biologists  from

the Kentucky Department of Fish  and Wildlife Resources who had

arrived at the spill site around 3:00 p.m.  They had checked
Williams  Creek at several points downstream from the spill site,
the last point being Little Sandy River about 1/2 mile downstream
from Williams Creek.  They had seen a number of dead minnows
and small longear sunfish.  On the morning of November 1,  checking
the Little Sandy River at several points further downstream, they
observed  no fish.  They said the local conservation officer,  who had
investigated the spill during the morning of October 31,  had seen
small fish struggling in Williams Creek downstream from the derail-
ment.  The fishery biologists believed that the small number of dead
fish they had observed did not warrant a fish Mil count.
    The EPA biologist accompanied the State fishery biologists on a
survey of Williams Creek downstream to its junction with the Little
Sandy River.  Since acrylonitrile is soluble in water and dangerous
to the skin,  the survey was limited to visual means. No fish, alive
or dead, were  seen in the stream.
    From all indications,  the spill of acrylonitrile killed all aquatic
life in Williams Creek downstream from the spill site.  It would be
difficult to assess the effect further downstream in Little Sandy
River, but dilution should reduce the toxicity of the material.
    To assess properly the biological effects of a  spill, it is of
utmost importance to survey the water body during the time the
spill is affecting the aquatic organisms.  In this case, the delay
made sampling unfeasible.


    No enforcement actions were taken since the railroad took some

measures to protect the environment.  In addition, since hazardous

substances had not been designated, penalties under Section 311 of

the FWPCA were not applicable.


State Highway Patrol

    The Kentucky State Highway Patrol was the  first on scene and

immediately set up  traffic control, notified appropriate local agen-

cies, and assisted with evacuation of two families living near the

derailment.  The Highway Patrol had initially planned to evacuate

more families, but  was advised by a chemist from Ashland Oil Co.

that, based on his on-scene observation, there  was no imminent

threat to the other homes in the area.

Boyd County Rescue Squad

    The Boyd County Rescue Squad warned downstream residents

not to use water from their wells and to keep livestock away from

Williams Creek.

Civil Defense

    At 3:30 a.m.  on October 30, the local representative of Civil

Defense had his personnel evacuate 150 people within all/2 mile

radius of the incident.  This evacuation was undertaken as a

result of recommendations of the OSC; however, representatives

 of DuPont, the Association of American Railroads, and Hulcher

 Emergency Railroad Service were opposed to this course of action.

 In the afternoon of October 31, the Civil Defense  representative

 was ordered by the State Fire Marshal to return all evacuated fami-

 lies.  During the evening, the Civil Defense representative was

 advised by the OSC and EPA's air pollution expert that families in

 the immediate area of the derailment should be reevacuated.  He

 concurred with the recommendation but was apprehensive because

 of the conflict with the State Fire Marshal's orders.   It was clear

 that only he could make  the decision and that EPA's role was purely

 advisory.  The Civil Defense representative decided to  reevacuate

 the families.

 Ashlanti Regional Office, Kentucky Division of Air Pollution

    Representatives of the Ashland Regional Office and Boyd County

•Health Department arrived on scene on October 31 and offered

 assistance.  The OSC asked if they had air monitoring equipment

 or if they could determine the level of toxic pollutants in the air

 surrounding the derailment.  The response was negative but both

 stayed on scene to assist.

 Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife and  Kentucky
  Air and Water Office

    Representatives from these State agencies surveyed Williams

 Creek and the Little  Sandy River on October 30 and 31.   They

 reported a large fish kill downstream from the derailment.  The

                            HI-2 3

State assisted EPA on the cleanup procedures and the stream
sampling program.  The State continued to monitor the stream and
cleanup operations until November 9.

Kentucky State Health Department
    A representative from the State Health Department sampled and
analyzed the water from about 50 wells in the immediate area.

Kentucky State Solid Waste  Office
    On November 2, two representatives  from the Kentucky Solid
Waste Office arrived on scene and advised railroad officials on pro-
cedures to follow in disposing of the residual caustic soda and coke
within the railroad right-of-way.

State of Ohio
    The Emergency  Response Section, Ohio EPA, was notified of
the spill at 9:00 a..m., November 1, and  immediately forwarded
the information to the Office of Public Water Supply, Ohio EPA.
    The Office  of Public Water Supply notified the Director of
Utilities, City  of Portsmouth, of the spill and recommended that
immediate steps be  taken to apply activated carbon.
    Preliminary calculations by Ohio EPA staff indicated that the
acrylonitrile concentration  at the Portsmouth water intake would
be about 100 parts per billion (ppb).
    Ohio EPA personnel, flown to Portsmouth by the Ohio National
Guard, collected samples of the Ohio River, the water intake, and

water distribution system. The samples were flown to Columbus
at 2:00 p.m.  for analyses in the laboratory of the Ohio Department
of Health.
    Chemists of the Ohio Department of Health, with automated ana-
lytical equipment, were transported to the Portsmouth water plant.
Laboratory equipment was set up by 10:00 p.m.,  and analyses were
conducted at hourly intervals.
    When it was determined that activated carbon was needed for
removal of acrylonitrile,  400 pounds of powdered activated carbon
were immediately flown to Portsmouth by the Ohio National Guard.
The carbon arrived by noon on November 1.
    Action was  also taken to obtain granular activated carbon.
Arrangements were made with Calgon Corp. for delivery of suffi-
cient carbon to provide an 18-inch depth in the sand filters.   The
material arrived  at Portsmouth  and was placed in the filters  during
the early hours of November 2.

C&O Railroad
    The railroad did the major part of the cleanup.  The following
account is based on the railroad's assessment,  which at times dif-
fers markedly from EPA's assessment.
    A dam with a  carbon-sorbent top (peat moss) was built across
the creek; a secondary filter dam built of rock and covered with
peat moss was  placed approximately 20 feet further downstream.

On November 13, after EPA advised that the acrylonitrile concen-

tration was 1 part per million 1 mile downstream, the dams were


    To take advantage of acrylonitrile's high volatility, the rail-

road used three pumps to spray the trapped, contaminated water

high on the bank,  maximizing aeration and evaporation.  To further

degrade and strip the product, an air compressor with a perforated

header was also employed in the pool behind the dam.

    On the advice of EPA, powdered carbon  was applied to the water

surface and stirred into the stream. This created another problem

-- black water.  However,  the filter dam  removed the carbon,

allowing only clear water to pass.

    The caustic soda was buried under the rebuilt tracks,  where it
was neutralized by pickle liquor (HC1).

    The EPA OSC visited the site from behind a Volunteer Fire

Department blockade (some four blocks away from where the  work

was being done).  The OSC made several phone calls and returned

to the scene,  indicating to railroad officers  at the site that he was

taking complete control of the situation at that time (some 16  hours

into the incident).  The OSC directed the Assistant State -Fire

Marshal to evacuate everyone within a 2-mile radius and to stop

all work at the  site.  In the early morning hours, the Assistant

Fire Marshal had evacuated five homes within a 2, 000-yard radius

of the site. He later reduced the evacuation area to 1 1/2 miles.

   A meeting was held with railroad personnel,  a representative

of the American Association of Railroad's Bureau of Explosives,

the OSC, and DuPont's experts on acrylonitrile.  The OSC was ad-

vised of the properties of the chemical and was deeply interested

in only that single product.  The OSC was not the least concerned

with the metallic sodium, which presented the most danger to the

personnel in the immediate area,  as it was showering intermit-

tently.  (Note: The OSC was equally concerned about the metallic


   After the discussion, the OSC  changed his mind  and said that

cleanup could continue.  However,  the personnel had already been

secured until 8:00 a.m. the following day, October 31.  This inci-

dent delayed, the railroad's cleanup efforts by about  eight hours and

permitted the polllution problem to continue unabated.

   The Assistant Fire Marshal's  first order  of priority was to

protect the property and the citizens.  He did this by evacuating all

personnel directly involved with the railroad to a distance  of

2, 000 yards.  Finally, over the objections of the EPA, both State

and Federal, he extinguished the major fire.  (Note: This is incor-

rect, the OSC was concerned about the method of fire-fighting —

that  is, water versus foam — and not whether to extinguish the


   On October 31, the Emergency Response Section of the Ohio

EPA received information via commercial radio  broadcast that a

train derailment had occurred in Kentucky. While the broadcast


did not specify the exact location, volumes, or compounds lost,

it did imply that the derailment was significant.  On about

November 1, Kentucky confirmed the derailment to Ohio EPA.

No mention of on-scene containment or cleanup was made, proba-

bly because that specific information was not requested, or

perhaps the Kentucky people were satisfied with what the  railroad

was doing.

    After being informed that indeed acrylonitrile had been spilled,

and without specific knowledge of on-scene activities,  Ohio EPA

informed the Portsmouth Water Treatment Plant that there was

grave danger from the oncoming "spill".  Ohio EPA requested

assistance of the U.S. EPA in evaluating the public health signifi-

cance of the spill.  By TWX, the State was informed that  there
had been an accident, and that "clouds of hydrogen  cyanide gas are

limiting the control and contaiment of stream contamination" and

that a U.S.  EPA OSC was at the scene.  Actually, the clouds were

smoke and steam observed by the OSC when he first arrived at  a

distance of 2, 000 feet behind barricades manned by firemen.

   At least 32 hours had elapsed since the derailment and it was

assumed that the tank that ruptured inundated Williams Creek with

its cargo, reported as "53, 000 gallons".  (The car contained

41, 682 gallons, the major portion of which was consumed in the

coke bed fire; "clouds of hydrogen cyanide gas" actually were car-

bon dioxide, water,  and nitrogen dioxide, all nontoxic.) Based  on

already bad assumption,  the Ohio EPA made a stream model and


predicted that a concentration of 1, 000 mg/1 would reach the Ohio

River.  There were 17 miles of stream (the  Ohio) left to go to

Portsmouth's water intake, in a stream that is 2, 600 feet wide

with an average depth of 9 feet and flowing at an established

2, 609, 143 cubic feet per. minute.  The model also disregarded the

natural aeration from the water surface and  the Greenup Locks

and Dam, which would help evaporate the volatile chemical.  The

Ohio EPA ordered that the Portsmouth Water Treatment Plant

apply activated carbon to  one-half of its sand filters at an undis-

closed depth; 60, 000 pounds of activated carbon were used.

    Using its "stream model, " the Ohio EPA's "experts" indicated

that the trailing edge of the spill passed the Portsmouth water

intakes before noon, November 2.  However, during the entire
time, with its portable laboratory and technicians, it detected no

acrylonitrile in either raw or finished water before or after apply-

ing activated carbon to the filters and raising the chlorine dosage.

E. I. duPont de NeMours and Company

    When the accident occurred, DuPont's emergency response

program immediately went into action, providing three employees
from a nearby plant to assist in emergency efforts. Also,  an

expert in the manufacturing and handling of acrylonitrile was  im-

mediately flown from Memphis to assist in handling of the fire,

curtailment of spillage into the nearby stream, and efforts to

protect against any possible air polllution threat.

    The cost figures are limited to those actions taken relating to
the environment and public safety  aspects and exclude the track-
clearing operations and fire-fighting.  Actual dollar costs are not
available at this time; however,  based on a breakdown of man-
days, the Federal cost was less than $5, 000,  about two-thirds of
it by Region IV.  None of the Federal expenses were chargeable
to Section 311(k) revolving fund because hazardous substances had
not been designated.
    The State of Kentucky's costs were probably about-the same  as
those of the Federal government.  The railroad estimates the
environmental cleanup costs at about $200, 000.  The OSC for this
incident believes this figure is high and may include salvage

    The major problems and issues emerging from a review  of
this incident are:
    o  Conflict between EPA's assessment that there was an
      imminent threat to public health and safety and the
      general attempt by the railroad and DuPont to downplay
      the incident.
    o  Uncooperative attitudes toward EPA by railroad, DuPont,
      and railroad salvage representatives.

    o Lack of enforcement authority, which reduced the effec-

      tiveness of the EPA OSC.

    o Conflict between EPA s advisory role and State Fire

      Marshal's authority.

    o Desirability of EPA advising local authorities on specific

      courses of action in areas where EPA is not expert --

      for examples  of explosion hazards, fire-fighting proce-

      dures,  and structural integrity of tank cars.

    o Complete lack of safety equipment for salavage crew and

      EPA on-scene personnel.

    o Inadequate communication with the State of Ohio regarding

      potential threat to Ohio water supplies.

    o Lack of local  equipment to monitor the air and laboratory
      facilities  to analyze water samples at 1. 0 mg/1 detection


    o Inability to determine amounts of toxic chemical in

      ambient air.

    o Lack of knowledge on toxic combustion product resulting

      from open burning of acrylonitrile and advisability of

      allowing acrylonitrile to burn.

    This incident occurred during the initial years of the spill

response program.  A number of the issues and problems have

been corrected,  although some remain.  However, the National

Contingency Plan was very effective, with the USCG and EPA

working very well together.  EPA's relationship with Kentucky


representatives was excellent,  with the exception of the Fire


    Another derailment on January 30, 1978, at Leon,  Kentucky,

illustrates that the Rush incident is not an. isolated case.  Of 14

cars derailed,  four containing acrylonitrile, one containing liqui-
fied petroleum  gas, three containing coke, one containing wood pulp,

and one empty car caught fire.   When the Fire Department arrived,

the Chief decided to let the fire burn.

    An OSC from Region IV arrived at Leon on the same day, and

the Regional Response Team was activated.  Kentucky Department

of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, DuPont, and

EPA water and air personnel were all called to the  scene  and, as

in Rush, worked with the railroad in meeting the emergency.  The
Disaster and Emergency Services, Kentucky's equivalent  of Civil

Defense, evacuated the area within two miles, including the com-

munities of Leon and Kitchens.   Drainage ditches leading  to the

Little Sandy River from the wreck were dammed.  However,  some

acrylonitrile entered the river.  The Corps of Engineers increased

the flow of the River to help flush it of contamination.

    The City of Grayson, which has a water intake on the River

about six miles downstream from the wreck, closed its intakes as

a precaution on the first day, as did Greenup 40 miles downstream.

The Kentucky National Guard and the Corps of Engineers hauled in

drinking water.

    The next day, when the fire was out, the evacuated families
returned, and the railroad's contractor started the cleanup.  Soil
was analyzed to help pinpoint areas requiring cleanup.  Drainage
from the derailment site was treated with carbon, and the samp-
ling of the Little Sandy River continued for two weeks.  Cleanup
required about a month.


    The carbon tetrachloride (carbon tet) case study involves three
Ohio River (Figure IV-1) can be seen as  a single environmental
    Carbon tet was first discovered in raw and finished water from
the Ohio River in April 1975.  In the course of conducting the
National Organics Reconnaissance Survey of Drinking Water,
intended to determine the extent and composition of organic chem-
ical contamination of drinking water supplies of 80 cities, EPA
discovered a level of three parts per billion (ppb) in drinking
water from the Ohio River.  The only other  major area in which
carbon tet was found in some quantity was the Mississippi River.
In a September 1976 survey,  EPA  found that the level of carbon
tet in drinking water at Huntington, West Virginia, had increased
to 10 ppb.  Of 80 cities surveyed,  34 contained carbon tet in their
drinking water.  Based on the National Organics Monitoring Survey
(NOMS),  which covered 113 cities, EPA  estimated that the national
average for carbon tet in raw and processed water was less than
1 ppb.
    Additional sampling along the Ohio River in 1976 indicated that
the source  of the carbon tet contamination was probably above
where the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers meet.  After reviewing the
permits for chemical discharges for the  plants in this  area, EPA



notified four companies -- Allied Chemical Corp., PPG Industries,

FMC Corp., and Diamond Shamrock -- that it would require them to

participate in a survey to monitor their discharges for carbon tet

under Section 308 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act


    During February 1977, EPA was monitoring carbon tet in raw

and finished water of Cincinnati,  Ohio, as part of research on water

supply treatment. The data collected indicated that the carbon tet

content was increasing.

    On February  18, 1977, EPA determined, based upon the sample

information analyzed at that time, that a huge "slug" containing an

estimated 70 tons of carbon tet and stretching some 75 miles south-

west from the Kanawha River was quickly moving down the Ohio.
Based upon the levels reported and the best available information

on the acute and chronic toxicity of carbon tet, EPA concluded that

the levels of carbon tet in the water presented a threat to human

health.  As a result, EPA began to take action under the Safe

Drinking Water Act.

    To protect the public from further exposure to this potentially

dangerous level of carbon tet in the water, EPA took several steps.

First, it calculated the velocity of the slug and the approximate

location of the main body of contaminated water.   Consumers of

Ohio River drinking water were notified by EPA of the approximate

time the slug would arrive in their area.  The EPA notified State

authorities about the slug and issued a health advisory informing


consumers about adverse health effects possibly resulting from

consumption of contaminated water.  The EPA indicated that

people facing more risks -- including those with kidney, liver,

or gallbladder conditions -- and senior citizens should stockpile

clean water. The EPA also advised that those people forced to

drink contaminated water should boil it for 5 minutes to remove

most of the  carbon tet.

    Additional data,  analyzed on the afternoon of February 18,

indicated that EPA's original estimation of the location of the slug

was incorrect.   That evening,  EPA determined that the slug had,

in fact, already passed Cincinnati.  The EPA held a press con-

ference in Cincinnati to announce that it had miscalculated the

location of the slug and issued new health advisories.
    On February 24,  FMC reported to the State of West Virginia

a spill of 2 to 3 tons of carbon tet into the Kanawha River.   The

EPA carefully monitored the progress of this spill as it made its

way down the Kanawha.  State  and local entities were quickly

informed of the spill and advised about precautionary measures.

    After inspecting the FMC plant, examining documents

concerning FMC's past history of carbon tet spills, and asses-

sing the possible danger to consumers of additional carbon tet

discharges or spills into the river, EPA, through the Justice

Department, filed a civil action in the U. S. District Court for

the Southern District of West Virginia on March 9,  1977, to

restrain FMC from discharging additional carbon tet into the


Kanawha River. A temporary restraining order was granted,

barring FMC from manufacturing carbon tet at its South Charleston

plant until measures were taken to prevent further discharges.

While the order was in effect,  EPA and the U.S. Attorney's Office

negotiated with FMC the terms of a Consent Order designed to

minimize future discharges from the South Charleston plant.

Initial Carbon Tetrachloride Incident
September 29,  1976
Octobe^ 6, 1976
October 22, 1976
November 15, 1976

February 1,  1977
February 7 -
 March 25,  1977

February 7, 1977
February 8, 1977
Carbon tet first discovered in Ohio

10 ppb carbon tet detected in
Huntington drinking water.

4 ppb of carbon tet detected in
Huntington drinking water.

Inquiries under Section 308 of Federal
Water Pollution Control Act sent to
PPG Industries, FMC  Corp., Allied
Chemical Corp.,  and Diamond

Region Hi meets with four companies.

FMC indicates it will not participate
in 308 Survey.

PPG, Allied,  and Diamond Shamrock
conduct 308 Surveys.

FMC refuses admittance to EPA
sampling team.

EPA team again refused, then allowed

February 10,  1977
February 9-12,  1977
February 18,  1977
February 18 -
 March 25, 1977
EPA requests injunction regarding
FMC's refusal to conduct 308 Surveys.

Region m informed by Technical
Support Division of high carbon tet
levels in Ohio River at Cincinnati;
sampling conducted.

Court hearing on injunction request
ends with consent order.

FMC conducts 398 Survey.
70-Ton Slug


February 9, 1977

February 10,  1977

February 11-13, 1977

February 16-18, 1977
February 19, 1977
February 20 -
 March 2, 1977

High carbon tet levels detected in
Ohio River at Cincinnati.

Possible dischargers investigated
and survey designed.

Carbon tet samples collected from
Ohio and Kanawha Rivvers.

Analytical results received from
2/11 and 2/12 survey.  70-ton slug
detected.  States and municipalities
notified.   News release issued.

Press  conference at Cincinnati
corrects error in news release.

Slug tracked downstream.  States
notified daily.
FMC-Reported Spill of Carbon Tetrachloride

   Date                                   Events
February 24, 1977
FMC announces spill of 2 to 3 of
carbon tet.  States and utilities
notified. Regional Response Team



    Sometime during March 1977, an unidentified toxic material

began entering  the Morris Forman Sewage Treatment Plant in

Louisville, Kentucky (Figure V-l).  The plant has a capacity of

105 million gallons per day, making it the third largest on the

Ohio River.   The Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) operates the

plant, which treats about  97 percent of the sewage generated by the

City of Louisville and Jefferson County.

    On Saturday, March 26, four MSD employees were using  steam

to clean a highly viscous material, which had a  strong odor,  off the

bar screen and associated equipment in the plant.  The cleaning

operation released  into the atmosphere a blue haze that irritated

the eyes,  nose, throat, lungs,  and skin.  The supervisor on duty

halted all work in the area and sent three employees to the hospital

for examination. Eventually,  32 employees were placed under med-

ical care. All  subsequently returned to full-time duty, apparently

with no after-effects.

    On Sunday afternoon,  following a heavy rain, the operating per-

sonnel noticed a blue haze hovering over the primary sedimentation

basins and an objectionable odor both in the primary treatment area

and in the basement of the buildings that contain sludge-pumping

equipment.  After an investigation, the plant manager ordered that

50 million gallons of raw  sewage be discharged  directly to the Ohio



River upstream of the plant.  The plant manager declared the
entire primary treatment facility a restricted area, and entry was
strictly controlled.
    On the afternoon of Monday, March 28, having failed to identify
the material causing the problems, MSD officials telephoned for
EPA s Region IV Office in Atlantia, Georgia,  for assistance.  The
Kentucky Department of Natural Resources and Environmental
Protection (KDNREP) was also notified. Region IV  sent a representa-
tive from its Enforcement Branch to Louisville and arranged for
samples of the suspected material to be flown to the EPA labora-
tory in Athens, Georgia.
    During the early morning hours of March  29, the contaminants
were identified as hexachlorocyclopentadiene  ("hexa")  and octa-
chlorocyclopentene ("octa").  Both of these substances are toxic
when inhaled or absorbed through the skin.  At 10:15 a.m., MSD
ordered that all sewage be discharged into the river and evacuated
the plant.
    Aside from danger to workers at the plant, the  primary con-
cerns were for the residents of the area and the cities downstream
that use the river as a source of water.  Monitoring of ambient air
in the Louisville area indicated that there was no hazard to the
general public.  Several downstream cities had to use  activated
carbon to remove the contaminants from their water supplies until
the danger period passed.

    EPA and MSB personnel began systemically sampling the

sewers to find the source of the contaminants.  The easily identi-

fiable odor of the hexa-octa mixture helped search teams to trace

the path of the material. Within a few days, the entry point was

identified.  About four miles of the Louisville  sewer system were

found to be contaminated.

    Meanwhile, all local, State, and Federal records were

examined to determine if anyone in the Louisville area produced

hexa, used it in any manufacturing process, or received it for

disposel of in waste.  Hexa is used in the manufacture of insecti-

cides, fire retardants, polymers, resins, dyes, fungicides, and

Pharmaceuticals.  Octa, a waste  by-product from the manufacture

of hexa, has no known commercial uses.  The investigators soon

found that there were no manufacturers or users of hexa in the

area and, therefore, no local source of the waste.  The hexa-octa

mixture must have been brought to Louisville for disposal, or a

vehicle passing through must have discharged  its wastes or

cleaned its tanks into the sewers.

    Examining national data,  other investigators found the Hooker

Chemical Co.  had ceased manufacture of hexa several months

earlier at a plant in Michigan,  leaving only one plant, in Memphis,

Tennessee, operated by Velsicol  Chemical Co. The ratio of hexa

to octa in the material contaminating the Louisville sewer system

proved similar to that of waste products from  the Velsicol manu-

facture of hexa. Representatives of the Enforcement Branch of


Region IV went to Memphis to review records on disposal,  haulers,

and methods of waste treatment.  The check showed that the Chem-

Dyne Corp. of Hamilton, Ohio, was the hauler and disposer for

Velsicol.  In reviewing Chem-Dyne records,  an attorney from

Region IV found a link to Louisville.  Following that lead, State and

Federal officials on April 4 (a. week after the Morris Forman plant

closed) inspected and sampled five waste disposal sites operated in

the Louisville  area by Kentucky Liquid Recycling, Inc.  On June 7,

1977, a Federal grand jury returned three indictments of five counts

each against the two owners and one employee of the company.  The

indictments included counts of polluting a Federal waterway and

interferring with the operation of a sewage treatment plant. The

trial date,  originally set for October 24, 1977, was rescheduled

for November, 1978.

    The response team in Louisville decided that it was critical

to get the Morris Forman Sewage Treatment  Plant back into opera-

tion.  These efforts  started on April 9.  A careful survey of the

plant revealed that most of the contaminants were in channels and

the bottom of basins. This was as expected,  because chemicals

are slightly soluble in, and heavier than water.  Hexa levels in the

plant were as high as 17 million parts per billion (ppb) or 1. 7

percent. To contain  the hazardous material,  as much of the sludge

as possible was transferred to three digesters on the plant site.

About 25, 000 tons were transferred, including about six tons of hexa.

    The contaminated sewers also had to be cleaned out so that

they would not recontaminate the plant.  One  short section, a


semiellipse 11 feet in diameter, was cleaned.  The task was
extremely difficult; conditions were hazardous for workers,  and
there were no proven methods available.  By putting men and
machines down into the sewers, MSD succeeded in decontami-
nating sections, permitting the plant to reopen on June  18, 1977.
However, about 15 million gallons of raw sewage are still dis-
charged directly to the river each day because MSD has not yet
found a way to decontaminate the remaining four miles  of sewers.
One line  is small, making it difficult for men and machines to
work effectively and safely.  The other line, though larger, is
under a major street.  Because homes, businesses, and factories
are connected directly to the line, there is a possibility that hexa-
octa fumes would reach occupied areas during cleanup operations.
MSD has solicited proposals from experienced contractors but has
not yet received an acceptable proposal to decontaminate the
   The contaminated sludge in the three digesters then became
the major disposal problem. After considering several approaches
that would have involved transporting the  sludge to other locations,
at considerable expense, tests indicated that it could probably be
dried and then incinerated in facilities at  the plant. No air pollu-
tion would be produced, and the remaining ash was found to be free
of contaminants, permitting its disposal in a local landfill. By the
end of 1977, essentially all the contaminated sludge in the digesters
had been destroyed.  About 1, 000 tons of  contaminated material


such as grit and debris, along with the material removed from the

sewers, was loaded into sealed containers and shipped to a Class I

disposal site in Wilsonville, Illinois.

   To date, about $1.3 million has been spent on decontamination

of the Louisville treatment plant and some of the sewers.


March 1977

March 26, 1977
March 27,  1977
March 28,  1977
March 29,  1977
March 30,  1977

Unknown toxic materials begin entering
Morris Porman Sewage  Treatment Plant
in Louisville,  Ky.

Four employees of the Metropolitan
Sewer District (MSD) become ill when
cleaning  a mechanical screen.  Work
is halted in the area.  Three employees
are sent  to the hospital.

Blue haze hovers over primary treat-
ment area.  MSD diverts 50 million
gallons of sewage directly to the Ohio

MSD asks for  assistance from EPA's
Region IV and the Kentucky Department
of Natural Resources and Environmental
Protection (KDNREP).

Region IV s laboratory identifies con-
taminants as a mixture of hexa and octa,
both considered hazardous.  Plant is
evacuated.  EPA sampling team from
Athens, MSD, and KDNREP begin plan-
ning sampling program.  U.S. Army
43rd Ordnance Detachment arrives to
assist in sampling.

Downstream water suppliers advised to
add carbon to  their raw waters and
sample raw and finished water.  Only
manufacturer  of hexa, Velsicol Chemi-
cal Co.,  and its waste contractor,
Chem-Dyne Corp., are identified.


March 31,  1977             Personnel from Center for Disease
                           Control, National Institute of Occupa-
                           tional Safety and Health (NIOSH),
                           Occupational Safety and Health Admini-
                           stration (OSHA), and Kentucky OSHA
                           arrive in Louisville.  NIOSH finds no
                           public health hazard.

April 1,  1977               EPA attorney examining Chem-Dyne
                           records find that hexa wastes had
                           recently been shipped to Kentucky
                           Liquid Recycle, Inc., of New Albany,
                           Ind.  Mt. Vernon,  Lid., issues ban on
                           drinking water.

April 2 and 3, 1977         Heavy rainfall flushes additional hexa
                           from combined sewage system into the
                           Ohio River.

April 4,  1977               EPA, KDNREP, and MSD inspect five
                           disposal sites operated by Kentucky
                           Liquid Recycle.

April 5,  1977               EPA, MSD, OSHA, Kentucky OSHA,
                           and NIOSH make plans for cleanup and
                           consider disposal alternatives.

April 6,  1977               Region IV concludes it has exhausted
                           EPA's investigative resources.
                           KDNREP assumes sole responsibility
                           for collecting river and water supply
                           samples.  Mt. Vernon stops with-
                           drawing water from Ohio River until
                           hexa slug passes.  Mayor of Louisville
                           requests a Federal coordinator.

April 7,  1977               Region IV Administrator arrives to
                           coordinate Federal effort. FDA
                           advised of river monitoring results for
                           use in determining possible effects on
                           food processors.

April 8,  1977               FBI assumes responsibility for investi-
                           gating sources of contamination.
                           Governor of Kentucky requests emer-
                           gency funds from  Federal Disaster
                           Assistance Administration to aid in

April 9,  1977               Cleanup of plant begins.


April 14,  1977

April 15,  1977

May 2,  1977

June 7,  1977
June 18, 1977
June 30, 1977
June 1978
NIOSH assumes responsibility for all
medical investigations.

EPA makes $200, 000 available to
Region IV for technical assistance to

Initial report on disposing of con-
taminated sludge using the plant's
Zimpro units is encouraging.

Federal grand jury brings three indict-
ments of five counts  each against
owners and one employee of Kentucky
Liquid Recycle. Among  the charges:
polluting a Federal waterway and inter-
ferring with operation of a sewage
treatment plant.

Morris Forman Sewage Treatment Plant
reopens, providing primary treatment
for 80 million gallons of  sewage daily.

EPA and Jefferson County Air Pollution
Control Board advise MSD that contami-
nated sludge may be  disposed of in the
Zimpro units.

Trial of defendants indicted in Louisville
hexa incident schedules to begin.

Federal Authority

    EPA became involved in the Louisville incident on March 28

when MSD notified Region IV that it was diverting half the flow of

the Morris Forman Sewage Treatment Plant to the Ohio River.

This was required by the provisions of the waste discharge permit

issued to MSD in accordance with Section 402 of the FWPCA.  MSD

also requested technical assistance from Region IV to identify the

unknown toxic chemical contaminating the plant.  EPA's response

to the request was carried out in accordance with Section 104(a) of
FWPCA, which requires the EPA Administrator to establish a
national program to,  among other things, provide technical services
to States and local agencies to conduct investigations,  surveys, and
    Once the magnitude of the problem was known,  the initial esti-
mate to clean up and dispose of the contaminant was about $4
million, which exceeded MSD's capabilities.  MSB and State,  after
the Federal Disaster  Assistance Administration (FDAA) denied
funding, requested that EPA prvide the funds for removal.
    FDAA's denial was based upon EPA's authority to provide such
assistance under FWPCA.   A review of EPA authority indicated
that no specific section of FWPCA was applicable; however, parts
of Section 104, 106,  115 and 311  could provide the authority for
expenditure of funds to assist MSB.  The Office of Management
and Budget expressed reservation about EPA's authority and the
precedent-setting nature of the funding assistance.  EPA allo-
cated $200, 000 to assist MSB under Section 104; however, further
funding and resolution of the authority issue was not necessary
since the costs of removal and disposal were significantly less
than initial estimates.
    Even though Section 311 of FWPCA was not applicable in this
case, the  U. S. Army 43rd Ordnance Betachment was activated to
provide assistance in accordance with the provisions of the
National Oil and Hazardous Substances Contingency Plan.


    The enforcement actions taken by the Department of Justice,

FBI, and EPA were undertaken in accordance with Section 309(e)

of FWPCA.  The dischargers were arrested and indicted by a

Federal grand jury for violating the FWPCA on June 7, 1977.

State Authority

    Information on State authorities is included in "State Emer-

gency Powers for Hazardous Substances, " prepared under another

part of EPA's study on environmental emergencies.


    EPA became aware of the events in Louisville on March 28

when MSD, as required by the discharge permit, notified Region IV

that it was diverting about half of the  flow of the Morris Forman

Sewage Treatment Plant to the Ohio River.  MSD also requested

technical assistance in identifying the unknown toxic agent contami-

nating the plant.  Region IV informed the Ohio River Valley

Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), KDNREP, Region V,  and EPA

Headquarters of the situation.  A Region IV representative left on

the same day for Louisville, and a sample of the suspected mate-

rial was tentatively identified late that evening by Region IV's

Surveillance and Analysis Division laboratory in Athens.  Eventu-

ally, Athens analyzed 3, 200 samples  of air  and water; an additional

1, 300 samples were analyzed by various other laboratories.

    On March  29, an EPA sampling team arrived in Louisville from

Athens, and began planning a sampling program in cooperation with


MSB and KDNREP. Because of the highly toxic nature of the
material, the U. S. Army 43rd Ordnance Detachment at Fort Knox,
Kentucky, was called in to assist in sampling.  An Army helicopter
was provided for sampling the river.  In response to Region IV's
request, the Center for Disease Control in Athens, the National
Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Occupa-
tional Safety and Health Administration  (OSHA),  and the Kentucky
OSHA were sent to the site.   The Food and Drug Administration
was kept advised of the results of river monitoring so that any
possible effects on food proceessing could be assessed.

Safety Monitoring
   By the end of the first week, about 100 local, State, and
Federal employees (including ten from EPA) were involved in the
hexa incident in Louisville.  The air quality monitoring stations,
set up around the plant and along the major sewer lines, indicated
that there was no hazard to the general  public.  Nonetheless, the
public needed repeated assurances that hexa odors from the sewers
were below toxic levels. An epidemiological study of 212 residents
by the Center for Disease Control confirmed the fact that there was
no danger.
   Region IV's Water Supply Branch advised KDNREP and Region
V of the potential water supply problems. After consultation with
the Health Effects Research Laboratory in Cincinnati,  Ohio, the
level of concern was set at 1 ppb of the  hexa-octa mixture in

drinking water.  Although there was no direct experience with
removal of the contaminant from water with powdered activated
carbon, the Municipal Environmental Research Laboratory in
Cincinnati recommended advising water suppliers to add carbon
at their maximum capability as a precautionary measure and to
sample raw and finished water.  A sampling system was set up
to provide early warning to downstream water suppliers.
    The waste material  moved down the river as a slug,  arriving
first at the Evansville,  Indiana, intake in about three days.
This was the time that had been calculated from flow times
supplied by the Technical Support Division of the Office of Water
Supply in Cincinnati.  While the concentration of hexa-octa
exceeded 2 ppb in raw water, concentrations in treated finished
water were below the detectable limit.  Henderson, Kentucky,
was also able to treat water successfully. However,  Mt. Vernon,
Indiana, and Golconda,  Illinois, were not as successful,  apparently
because they were using a different brand of carbon, and Mt.
Vernon had to ban the use of drinking water between April 1 and
April 3.
    On April 2 and 3,  heavy rainfall in the Louisville area flushed
additional material from the combined sewage system into the Ohio
River.  Evansville again removed the contamination with powdered
activated carbon.  Mt. Vernon  decided to shut off its water intake,
rather than risk having  to flush its system, as had been necessary
with the first slug. Water was trucked in temporarily.


Investigation of Source of Contamination
    EPA and MSD personnel systematically sampled the Louisville
sewers to locate the point where the toxic material was entering
the system.  EPA guided the effort, providing containers and
furnishing analyses to guarantee quality assurance, while MSD
supplied the knowledge of the system and manpower.
    Within a week after the closing of the plant, 41 points had been
sampled.  The Athens laboratory, by placing its organic section
on a round-the-clock work  shift and shifting all its gas chroma-
tographic  equipment to the  analysis of hexa samples, was able to
report results in about 24 hours.  The  analytical results, along
with the odor of the contaminant,  made it clear that the waste had
come into the sewage treatment plant through the Western Inter-
ceptor, which generally collects sewage north of the plant.
    Because the contaminant was  apparently a waste product
brought to Louisville, all rail car and truck-cleaning facilities
were inspected to confirm their reports that they had no contact
with hexa. Meanwhile, the Region IV Enforcement Branch scanned
the nation for manufacturers and  users of hexa.  Hooker Chemical
reported that it had discontinued making hexa in February and that
prior to that time, it had shipped hexa through, but not to,
Louisville.  The company also reported that it disposed of its
waste products under contract with Chem-Dyne. Examination of
Chem-Dyne records by an EPA attorney on April 1 showed that
wastes had been shipped in the first three weeks of March to


Kentucky Liquid Recycle,  a firm in New Albany, Indiana, which
is located across the river from Louisville.
    The information gathered from Velsicol and Chem-Dyne by
April 3 strongly suggested examination of the facilities of the
local disposal company.  EPA's Enforcement Branch, KDNREP,
and MSB met and planned  simultaneous inspections and sampling
of the five sites believed to be used by Kentucky Liquid.  Four
sites were in Kentucky—one was formerly  a tobacco warehouse,
one was formerly a brick-manufacturing plant,  one an open field,
and the fourth the home of the owner. The fifth site in New Albany,
was formerly an oil tank farm. EPA's Region V and the Indiana
Stream Pollution Control Board were advised of the inspections.
    Coordination was a paramount concern, becuase of the involve-
ment of a number of agencies,  some of which could not be fully
apprised of the action until one hour before the inspections. At
10:00 a.m., April 4,  all five locations were inspected simultane-
ously by teams of State, Federal, and local officials.  The owner
was located at his home and accompanied the inspectors to the
New Albany site. Company records showed that hexa-octa wastes
had been delivered to the New Albany site by Chem-Dyne from
February 24 to March 25.
    When the samples collected from the suspected sites confirmed
the existence of hexa at more than one location, the Enforcement
Branch informed the U. S.  District Attorney for the Western Dis-
trict of Kentucky. The Attorney obtained a search and seizure


warrant from a Federal Judge and directed that more samples be
obtained from the sites.  Senior personnel of Kentucky's Division
of Water Quality and Division of Hazardous Material and Waste
Management took part in the two-day effort, along with eight EPA
personnel from Athens and FBI agents.
    To provide sufficient legal evidence, a 5 percent sample
of all drums and containerized materials was taken at each site
using identical procedures.  Sampling  was difficult and hazardous.
Each team was outfitted with protective gear consisting of face
shields, lab aprons, elbow-length rubber gloves, and respirators
with selective filter packs.  The U. S.  Army at Fort Knox supplied
a back hoe and bulldozer to  dig up buried barrels at one site.   Fork-
lift trucks were needed to sample drums stacked five high at another
site.  Some barrels and tanks with unknown contents were leaking,
while others buldged from internal pressure.  About 200 individual
samples were taken and sent to Athens for analysis.
    On April 6, after reviewing all records and reports, Region
IV's Enforcement Branch concluded that EPA had exhausted its
investigative resources and was still not able to determine who had
been at fault.  It requested the FBI be  broght into the investigation,
and on April 8 turned over all information to the FBI.
    The FBI investigation, along with information from a witness,
revealed that the hexa had entered the  Louisville sewer system at
Lewis Avenue near Broadway and 20th Streets where an old dis-
tillery was being demolished.


    Following presentation of the evidence by the U. S.  Attorney,
a Federal grand jury on June 7, 1977,  returned three indictments
of five counts each against the two owners and an employee of
Kentucky Liquid. The indictments included: two counts of
discharging a pollutant into a Federal waterway, one count of
conspiring to pollute a Federal waterway, one count of interfer-
ring with operation of a sewage treatment plant, and one count of
conspiring to interfere with a sewage treatment plant.
    Because this was only the second criminal case to  be tried
under FWPCA in which a jail sentence was sought, the judge
granted extra time to the defendants' attorneys to prepare the
case.  The trial date, originally set for October 24, 1977,  was
rescheduled for November 1978.

    Returning the sewage treatment plant to normal operating
status was critical since 100  million gallons of raw sewage per
day were being discharged into the Ohio River.  First, however,
procedures had to be established for worker safety.  NIOSH,
OSHA, Kentucky OSHA, EPA, and MSB worked together to develop
the necessary procedures and to train the workers in the use of life
support equipment.
    On April 14, NIOSH assumed responsibility for all medical
investigations,  and on April 19 took over all air sampling in the
plant.  The cleaning  operation itself was carried out and funded
largely by MSB.

    On April 8, the Governor of Kentucky requested emergency
funds from FDAA to aid in the cleanup.   FDAA denied the request,
and on April 15, EPA made  $200, 000 available to Region IV and
requested the Region to develop a plan to solve the problem and
provide estimates  of the funds needed.  EPA was to be responsi-
ble for disposal of contaminated material, while MSB was to be
responsible for the cleanup.

    With more than 100 people representing  many agencies directly
involved in the Louisville hexa incident,  there were problems  of
coordination.  The 17 agencies represented  included EPA, KDNREP,
OSHA, Kentucky OSHA, Kentucky Department of Emergency Ser-
vices, 43rd Ordnance Department, NIOSH, Center for Disease
Control, FDAA, Department of Justice,  FBI, U. S.  House of Repre-
sentatives Subcommittee on  Investigaitons and Review, Louisville -
Jefferson County Health Department,  Jefferson County Air Pollution
Control Board, Louisville Police Department, Louisville Mayor's
Office,  and Civil Defense.
    Elected Louisville  officials were concerned that the Federal
agencies, at the top levels,  were not giving  adequate attention to
the problem, and they perceived a lack of coordination. As a
result,  the Mayor  of Louisville made requests for a Federal
coordinator to President Carter,  the EPA Administrator, and the
Secretary of Health,  Education, and Welfare. On April 7, the

chairman of the Federal Regional Council, who was, c©incidentally,
the Administrator of EPA's Region IV, was sent to Louisville to
coordinate actions of the Federal agencies present and to provide
a leadership support role to MSD.  A simiar request to the Gov-
ernor of Kentucky resulted in assignment of a coordinator for State
   Assignment of Federal and State coordinators had a positive
effect on the management of the incident.  In particular, the
presence of a ranking Federal official provided focus,  leadership,
and a single voice for the Federal agencies.  Aso, he took care of
inquiries, information, and action with other State, EPA Regions,
and Federal agencies not on the scene.  He was able to provide
assistance at a higher level and in a manner not otherwise avail-
able to MSD or State officials.  For example, when incineration
of the sludge at sea was being considered, he was able to deter-
mine the legal requirements for barge shipment of the material
down the Ohio and Misissippi Rivers, make preliminary arrange-
ments with the Coast Guard and U. S. Navy, and determine the
availability of the two incinerator ships.

    The State of Kentucky became involved in the hexa incident
when KDNREP was notified that raw sewage was being diverted to
the Ohio River. KDNREP assisted in collection of samples and
coordinated their shipment by air to Athens using the State's

aeronautical motor pool, which the Governor had made available,
with backup from commercial services.  On April 6,  KDNREP
assumed sole responsibility for collecting river and water supply
    On April 8, the Governor formally requested that FDAA
declare the Louisville sewage system a major emergency. He
also requested a Federal mission be assigned to EPA for removal
and disposal of contaminated sludge.  Later,  at the request of the
Mayor of Louisville, the Governor appointed  a  coordinator for
State agencies.  He chose a coordinator from the Bureau of
Environmental Protection because three of its divisions were
deeply involved in the hexa incident and because the Bureau nor-
mally took a coordinating role in environmental emergencies.
    KDNREP helped plan and took part in the  inspections and
sampling of the five sites of Kentucky Liquid  Recycle. Both
State and local authorities knew that the company stored liquid
industrial wastes in the Louisville area, including New Albany,
although it had not been known to be handling  hexa.  The comp-
any had received no disposal permits from either Kentucky or
Indiana.  KDNREP and the Fire Marshal's  Office had made spot
checks of the company,  as had the Jefferson County Health De-
partment.  Citizens had also complained about  odors  and safety.
    Following the April 4 inspections, State police maintained
surveillance on all five sites to make sure  no material was
shipped in or out.  When the existence of hexa was confirmed at


several locations, more samples were required to provide legal
evidence.  Senior personnel of KDNREP participated in the two-
day effort.
   Kentucky OSHA played a major role in ensuring worker safety,
since Federal OSHA had delegated the responsibility to the State.
With the assistance of OSHA, NIOSH, EPA, and MSD,  Kentucky
OSHA developed procedures for  decontaminating the plant and
cleaning the sewers.  Protective clothing was specified,  including
boots,  disposable coveralls and  gloves, full vinyl suits, half or
full face respirators, self-contained breathing apparatus, and, as
appropriate,  the use of a fresh air supply.  Worker safety was a
major factor in the long period of time required to get the plant
back into operation.  Despite the many hazards, no workers were
injured during cleanup operations.
   As the operator of the Morris Forman Sewage Treatment Plant
and the sewer system, MSD was involved throughout all phases of
the hexa incident.  It promptly notified Region IV and KDNREP
that it was discharging raw sewage into the Ohio River.  Once its
chemists were unable to identify the  agent responsible, it asked
for technical assistance from EPA.  As State and Federal repre-
sentatives arrived, MSD set up a coordinating center at its
administrative offices.  Additional telephones were installed, and
working and meeting space provided. Daily briefings were held
at 5:00 p.m.  to keep all agencies current.

    MSD participated in the monitoring efforts, especially in the
plant and sewer lines,  where its knowledge was essential.  Trying
to develop leads in the investigation,  MSD asked the public to
report any recent unusual occurrences regarding tank trucks.
Several leads resulted, but all were fruitless.  Eventually, a wit-
ness did report that several times in March he had seen the
owners of Kentucky Liquid Recycle driving a semitrailer truck
into a demolition site.   This lead helped to identify the point in
the sewer system where the waste had entered.

Cleanup of Plant and Sewers
    Returning the sewage treatment plant to operational status
was accomplished largely by MSD.  In the plant, the toxic mate-
rials were concentrated in the  sludge and grit.  Once the area
became safe to enter,  on April 9, the noncontaminated waters
from the plant were released to the Ohio.  On the same date,
MSD started transferring the contaminated sludges from the pri-
mary clarifiers to the  digesters. About 25, 000 tons of sludge,
including some 6 tons of hexa,  were transferred.  Grit and debris
were placed in sealed containers and transported to the approved
    At first,  disposal of the sludge was expected to be very expen-
sive, since the disposal schemes being considered involved
transporting the sludge from the plant, then either burying it or
burning it at sea.  However,  it was determined that the sludge

could be disposed of on-site using wet air oxidation units installed
during a $56 million upgrading of the plant from primary to secon-
dary treatment. Preliminary studies conducted in Rothschild,
Wisconsin, by Zimpro, Inc.,  the manufacturer of the units,  indi-
cated that the sludge could be heated in the units,  then vacuum
filtered and incinerated.  All contaminated material in the diges-
ters was processed by the end of 1977.
    Three major sections of the sewer were contaminated with an
asphalt-like layer of sludge that was as deep as 1 1/2 feet in
places.  Unless the sludge was stirred up, water flowing through
the sewers into the river was not a public hazard.  Because of a
variety of factors, removing the sludge from the sewers proved
to be more of a problem than had been anticipated. Among the
complicating factors were the requirements for worker  health and
safety, the necessity to modify equipment so it could work in the
sewers, the effect of the contaminated sludge on rubber boots and
tires, and, for a period,  the presence of hydrogen sulfide and
hexa fumes.
    The Ohio River Interceptor—a semielliptical line 11 feet  in
diameter and about 3, 500 feet long--was cleaned first because this
would permit reopening the plant.   The sewer has a flat, smooth
concrete base, so that it could be  cleaned with small tractors
equipped with special blades and men wearing protective clothing.
On June 18, 1977, the treatment plant was returned to operational
status, providing primary treatment to about 90 milion gallons  of


sewage per day.  While the plant was closed, mo're than seven
billion gallons of raw sewage were discharged to the Ohio River.
Fortunately,  it was at a time when water temperature was rela-
tively low and oxygen content high, so that the damage to water
quality was minimal. Secondary treatment, which was just being
started when the hexa incident occurred, was resumed about a
month later.  However, MSB is operating the new and complex
facilities with many inexperienced workers.  Thus, it expects it
will be mid-1978 before the numerous mechanical and control
problems have been solved and the plant is able to consistently
discharge an effluent that meets permit requirements.  The
monitoring of air, solids, and sludge will probably have to con-
tinue for at least two years.
    The two remaining sewer lines have not been decontaminated.
Considerable work was  done on the Western Interceptor, which is
7,000 feet long and varies from four to  six feet in diameter. The
amount of contaminated hexa in the sewer is not large--only about
20 cubic yards--but the concentration of hexa-octa has been as
high as 1. 5 million ppb. Because of its size, men and machines
could not work in the sewer. Early efforts involved trying to
dissolve the contaminants, then flushing the sewer and trapping
the contaminants. Specially designed flushing equipment,
operating at thousands of pounds per square inch, was used
along with mechanical drags.  However, the sewer has  not yet
been decontaminated.


    The third sewer—the Broadway—poses the greatest challenge
of all.  The contaminated section is 10, 200 feet long; some parts
are 91/2 feet in diameter and others 10 1/2.   Installed more
than 100 years ago, it runs down the center of a major four-lane
road on which residential, commerical,  and industrial buildings
connect directly to the sewer.  Therefore, gases could be expected
to back into occupied  areas during cleanup. It is a combined sewer
and so it can't be shut off and drained.  In the event of heavy rains,
men and equipment would have to be evacuated quickly. The line
where the hexa entered the sewer system contains 250 to  300
cubic yards of contaminated sludge.
    MSB considered the possibility  of decontaminating the two
sewer lines by using  a strong oxidizing agent  such as chlorine,
ozone,  ultraviolet light, or a combination of these agents. Unfor-
tunately, the pilot work had to be stopped when it became apparent
that a toxic gas such  as phosgene might be generated.   A  major
advantage of a successful reaction process is that the public would
not be exposed to the toxic material, and the cost would probably
be less than for removing the material,  placing it in containers,
and disposing it at a distant location.  MSB solicited proposals
for decontaminating the two interceptors,  but has not yet  received
an acceptable proposal.
    In addition to MSB,  numerous local agencies were involved in
the hexa incident, including Louisville-Jefferson County Health
Bepartment, Jefferson County Air  Pollution Control Board,


Louisville Police Department, Louisville Mayor's Office, and
Civil Defense.

    The manager of Velsicol's Memphis plant provided information
on personnel precautions and safety requirements necessary in
handling hexa.  When the ratio of hexa to octa became known, he
verified that their waste products from the manufacture of hexa
were in the  same general proportions.  He joined the search for
the source of the wastes and began with his own records.  Chem-
Dyne also cooperated by making its records available.
    Hooker Chemical, a former manufacturer of hexa provided
safety data and identified the  only firm manufacturing hexa.

    Costs for responding to incidents of the size  of the Louisville
hexa incident are not budgeted for by any agency.  However, MSD
did have a contingency fund of $7 million set aside to take care of
specific breakdowns in its system.  MSD also has two insurance
policies, one covering the primary treatment plant, the other the
secondary plant.  Negotiations are still underway with the insur-
ance companies.
    Early estimates for disposal of the material, when incinera-
tion at sea was being considered, ran as high as $8.6 million.
Disposal costs are not estimated to run only about $240, 000;
$135, 000 has already been spent, with the remainder earmarked

for disposal of material from the two remaining sewers.

    Expenses to date are:

    Disposal                                   $135,000

    MSB cleanup                               665, 000

    EPA (including contract and                341, 800
      personnel costs)

    Other Federal (OSHA, NIOSH, Army,        47,100
      Center for Disease Control)

    Kentucky Department for Natural            53, 000
      Resources and Environmental

    Water supplies (additional                   33, 000
      treatment for downstream

                                 TOTAL   $1, 274, 900

    Costs for decontaminating the remaining sewers may be as

high as $5 million.


    The most significant issue raised by the Louisville chemical

waste incident is what should be the Federal role in mitigation of

environmental emergencies that are  not covered by Section 311,

FWPCA.  Even though major funding support by the Federal gov-

ernment was not ultimately needed, the following points are worth

reviewing since similar cases could  arise in the future.

    o FDAA withdrew consideration  of Federal support after

       EPA determined it had the authority to provide assist-


    o EPA Region IV was of the opinion that on-site
      decontamination should be funded by MSD; however,
      Federal assistance should be provided for costs of
      ultimate disposal if it involved transport to locations
      other than the State of Kentucky.
    o Cost for disposal was initially  estimated at $4 million,
      which was assumed to exceed the capability of MSD;
      however,  MSD had a  $7 million emergency fund.
    o EPA's authority to provide funding assistance was
      vague,  since FWPCA and other acts administered
      by EPA did not cover this type of situation.
    o Federal funding of the Louisville incident would have
      established a precedent and significantly expanded
      the Federal role in environmental emergencies.
    o The EPA  funds that were made available were pri-
      marily  to provide  technical assistance for solving
      the problem and not for removal or disposal of the
    The question concerning what the  Federal role should be is still
unresolved; however, amendments to FWPCA passed in December
1977 include authority to provide support for such incidents. Under
Section  504, a $10 million contingency fund is authorized to provide
assistance in environmental emergencies presenting a danger to
public health or  welfare.  However, funds to carry out the authority
have not been  appropriated.




   Kepone, a chlorinated hydrocarbon used as an ant and rodent

poison,  was produced at Hopewell, Virginia, (Figure VI-1) by Allied

Chemical Corp. from 1966 to 1973.  Toxicity information submitted

when it  was registered with the U. S. Department of Agriculture in

1959 indicated that it caused "DDT-like tremors" in people exposed

to it.

   In February 1974, Life Science Products,  Inc., a company in-

corporated in Virginia in 1973 by two former Allied employees,

started  Kepone production under contract to Allied.  The raw

materials were supplied by Allied and the product sold exclusively

to Allied.  This arrangement,  in which a contractor processes a

material for a fee or "toll" and then returns the material, is a

common practice in the chemical industry.  Over the years, Ke-

pone never amounted to more than 0.1 percent of U. S. pesticide

production, of which upwards of 90 percent of the Kepone was


   In July 1975, the Center for Disease Control at Atlanta,  Georgia,

found Kepone in blood samples of a Life Science employee.  The

samples were submitted by a Hopewell physician.  The employee's

complaints included tremors, loss of weight, quickened pulse, un-

usual eye movements,  and a tender, enlarged liver. Notified of

the results of the blood analyses, the Virginia Department of Health



closed the plant.  Eventually,  more than 70 individuals developed
ailments ranging from slurred speech and loss of memory to liver
damage. A study by the Medical College of Virginia found that 14
individuals probably are sterile.  A study by the National Cancer
Institute found that Kepone is carcinogenic.
    In early August 1975,  the State of Virginia asked EPA's Health
Effects Research Laboratory at Research Triangle Park, North
Carolina, for a sampling program to  determine the extent and
effects of Kepone contamination in the residents and environment
of Hopewell. In December, EPA reported that Kepone residues
were found in blood and skin samples of 29 hospitalized patients—
28 Life Science workers and one worker's wife.  Kepone was found
in the James River as far as 40 miles from Hopewell,  as well as
in fish and shellfish,  some collected as far  as 64 miles from Hope-
well.   Bottom sediments from the James River contained significant
Kepone concentrations, as did sludge from Hopewell's sewage treat-
ment plant. Prior to the closing of the Life Science plant, the City's
sludge digesters malfunctioned several times because  of the toxic
effects of Kepone.  Soils around the plant site had high Kepone resi-
dues.  Air samples gathered between March 1974 and April 1975
from a State sampling station located about  200 meters from the
plant contained significant Kepone residues.  Traces of Kepone
were also found in the air 16 miles from Hopewell.
    In August 1975. EPA's Region HI  Office in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, issued an order to Life Science Products to stop


sale,  use,  or removal of Kepone from its premises.  As a result
of Kepone contamination, the Governor of Virginia closed the James
River to fin and shellfishing in December 1975, and in 1977,  the
lower part of the Chesapeake Bay was closed to taking of blue male
crabs.  In February 1976,  Region HI issued a stop sale order to
Allied Chemical's Baltimore facility, which served as the distri-
bution point for Kepone produced at Hopewell.  On October 5, 1976,
Allied Chemical was fined $13.2 million  on its no contest plea to
940 criminal charges of discharging pesticide wastes into the James
    Major State and Federal activities, from December 1975 on,
emphasized cleanup actions and  assessing the extent of Kepone
contamination.   The Life Science plant was dismantled, and the
contaminated remnants buried in a clay-filled pit at the sewage treat-
ment plant.   The land around the Life Science plant was scraped, and
the excavated material removed and stored in drums  at the sewage
treatment plant.  The contaminated sludge was stored in a specially
constructed lagoon at the plant.

    At the same time, the State of Virginia moved ahead with develop-
ment of a large-scale program to sample and monitor water, soil,
and sediments.  In addition, the river and fish market were sampled
to evaluate contamination of plant and animal life. Protocols were
developed, and a Kepone Task Force was set up to coordinate
Virginia's efforts.  The State of Maryland also undertook sampling

in areas of its jurisdiction.
    Efforts then shifted to two long-range issues:
    o Evaluating methods for destroying Kepone wastes stored
      at the sewage treatment plant.
    o Assessing the contamination of the Hope well/James
      River area and evaluating the possible methods for
      mitigating the contamination.
    Neither of these long-term issues has been resolved. Incin-
eration  appears to be the method that will be used to dispose of  the
stored wastes.  Two public hearings have been held in Hopewell,
and further hearings will be held before  a decision is reached.
    At the request of the Governors of Virginia and Maryland, EPA
has undertaken a Kepone Mitigation Feasibility Project to assess the
problem of contamination of Hopewell and the James River.  A report
was published in June 1978 and indicates that the contamination  is so
widespread that it will be very costly and may prove impossible to
mitigate.  Land areas around Hopewell still contain high concentra-
tions of Kepone.  The James River is contaminated from Hopewell
to near  its mouth, and there  is no evidence that Kepone levels are
dropping.  Cleanup of the river may require billions of dollars and
entail a further difficult problem of disposing of contaminated sedi-
ments.  Without such cleanup, the James River may have to be
closed to fishing and shellfishing for decades.
    One aspect of the Kepone incident, however,  appears to be
improving.  A recently-discovered drug, cholestyramine,  hastens


elimination of Kepone from the body.  That suggests that the human

victims may recover more quickly than had been thought.

October 10, 1973
February 21,  1974
February 1974
April 1974
September 1974

Allied Chemical Corp. registers
Kepone as a pesticide with the U. S.
Dept. of Agriculture.  Toxicity in-
formation included in registration
indicates that Kepone causes "DDT-
like tremors. "

Allied Chemical manufactures Kepone
in Hope-well,  Va.

The City of Hope well applies to
Virginia Water Control Board for a
permit to discharge municipal waste-
water to James River. City claims
no industrial discharges enter sewage
treatment plant.

Life Science Products, Inc., (LSP)
begins production of Kepone in
Hopewell under contract to Allied

Virginia Air Pollution Control Board
cites Life Science Products  for failure
to obtain air pollution permit for sulfur
oxides and particulates.  Company
applies for and receives permit.

Sewage treatment plant malfunctions
because bacteria in sludge digesters
are decimated by Kepone.

Former employee of LSP  files a
complaint on working conditions with
the Occupational Safety and  Health and
Administration (OSHA).  OSHA's tox-
icological information does  not in-
dicate severe hazard, so complaint
is handled as discrimination case.

October 1974
October 31, 1974
November 22, 1974
November 26, 1974
March 1975
April 1975
April 11,  1975
May 1975
Following repeated violations of the
air quality standard for particulates,
LSP installs baghouse.

Water Control Board grants Hopewell
waste water permit with no requirement
for monitoring or limit on Kepone dis-
charges, but asks  Region El for recom-
mendations for treatment of Kepone
c ontamination.

Hopewell News publishes  account of
Kepone-induced breakdown of digesters.

Region El provides information on
Kepone toxicity requested by Water
Control Board, recommending a limit
of 0. 4 parts per billion in discharges
into a municipal system.

Region HI begins to investigate whether
LSP has violated requirement of Federal
Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide
Act (FIFRA) as amended that all pesticide
products and producers must be regis-
.tered with EPA.

In a letter to Region HE, Allied Chemical
asserts that under existing regulations
Kepone produced by LSP is a pesticide
component and, therefore, LSP is not
required to register as a pesticide pro-

After a meeting with the Water Control
Board, Hopewell agrees to construct an
asphalt-sealed lagoon to contain Kepone-
contaminated sludge from the digester,
and LSP agrees to pretreat waste water
before discharging it into the sewer

State Water Control Board repots to the
State Health Dept. that LSP has dumped
hexachlorocyclopentadiene, a raw material
in the manufacture of Kepone, into Hope-
well's sewer system. City closes LSP
plant because worker at sewage treatment
plant becomes ill from fumes carried to
the plant.

June 1975
July 1975
July 23,  1975
July 24,  1975
August 19, 1975
August 20, 1975
August 1975
September 1975
September 9, 1975
Water Control Board amends Hopewell
wastewater permit to require pretreat-
ment of wastes from LSP.

Health.Dept.  is notified by Center for
Disease Control,  Atlanta, Ga., that
Kepone has been detected in blood
sample of LSP employee.

Health Dept.  examines 10 employees of
LSP; seven have symptoms of neuro-
logical illness, several severe enough
to require hospitalization.  Inspection
of plant reveals that the building, air,
and ground are contaminated with Kepone
and its precursors; procedures for pro-
tecting personnel are found to be inade-
quate and operating conditions unsafe.

Health Dept.  orders LSP to  cease pro-
duction of new Kepone and to begin
immediately to clean up the  site.

OSHA officials visit Hopewell plant for
the first time and find that limited pro-
cessing of raw materials on hand con-
tinues, as per cleanup  agreement with
the City of Hopewell.  OSHA cites the
company for four violations, including
failure to prevent employee  exposure
to harmful levels of Kepone.  Fines
totaling $16, 500 are imposed.

EPA's Region HI issues an order to
LSP under FIFRA to stop the sale or use
of Kepone, as well as its removal from
the premises.

Virginia asks that EPA's Health Effects
Research Lab,  Research Triangle Park,
N. C.,  sample residents and the environ-
ment in Hopewell to determine the extent
and effects of Kepone contamination.

EPA informs the Food and Drug Admini-
stration (FDA) of James River Contami-

An Ad Hoc Committee consisting of mem-
bers of the State Water Control Board,

November 11, 1975
December 5, 1975
December 16, 1975
December 18, 1975
January 1976
February 3,  1976
February 1976
February 25,  1976
March 1976
State Health Dept., and the City of Hope-
well is established to determine the meth-
ods and costs of cleaning up the LSP plant
site and disposing of any waste material.

Cleanup of the LSP plant begins under
the direction of an Allied Chemical in-
dustrial hygienist.

Virginia establishes an interagency
Kepone Task Force to coordinate all
its activities related to Kepone.

Results of EPA sampling program
show that Kepone is present in workers
of LSP, as well as in the air, sewage
sludge,  and James River water, bottom
sediment, fish, and shellfish.

Governor of Virginia closes more than
100 miles of the James River and its trib-
utaries to commercial fishing until at
least July 1, 1976.

State Water Control Board starts long-
range program for monitoring contami-
nation of the James River.  OSHA re-
opens 1974 complaint of former employee
of LSP.

EPA's Region IH issues a stop-sale order
to Allied Chemical's Baltimore plant,
which serves as the distribution point to
Kepone produced at Hopewell.

Medical College of Virginia reports that
14 former employees of LSP are prob-
ably sterile. National Cancer Institute
releases study indicating Kepone is car-

EPA recommends action levels to FDA
for seizure of Kepone-contaminated fish
and shellfish.

FDA establishes  action levels for seizure
of Kepone-contaminated fish and shellfish.
EPA sends formulators of Kepone-contain-
ing products a notice of presumption against

                            registration of such products.
May 1976
August 19, 1976
August 30, 1976
September 1976

October 5, 1976
March 31,  1977
July 6,  1977
August 31, 1977
October 18, 1977
Allied Chemical, LSP,  the City of
Hopewell, and several individuals are
indicated in Federal court on criminal
counts, including conspiracy to defraud
EPA  and violation of Federal water
pollution laws.

Allied Chemical pleads no contest
to 940 criminal charges of dis-
charging pesticide wastes from the
production of Kepone into the James

Governors of Virginia and Maryland
request EPA to undertake a study of the
feasibility of mitigating Kepone con-
tamination in Hopewell and the James

EPA agrees to undertake a Kepone
Mitigation Feasibility Project.

Allied Chemical is fined $13. 2 mil-
lion on its no contest plea of 940  counts
of pollution.  The fine is later reduced
to $5  million after Allied sets up the
Virginia Environmental Endowment
with an initial donation of $8 million.

EPA starts Kepone Mitigation Feasi-
bility Project with funding of$l. 4

Health Dept. contracts with Flood and
Associates, Inc., for study of dis-
posal of Kepone-contaminated wastes
at Hopewell.

Public meeting is held at Hopewell  pre-
ceeding initial screen of alternatives
for ultimate disposal of Kepone-
contaminated wastes.

Second public meeting is held at Hope-
well to present final alternatives for
disposal of Kepone-contaminated

December 30, 1977         Governor of Virginia extends fishing
                           ban for 1 year.

June 9, 1978               Report of Kepone Mitigation Feasi-
                           bility Project is scheduled to be


    Several  Federal statutes are relevant to the Kepone incident at

Hope-well: Federal Water Pollution Control Act (PL 92-500),  Clean

Air Act of 1970 (PL 91-604), Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and

Rodenticide Act as amended (PL 94-140), Occupational Safety and

Health Act (PL 91-596),  and Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic

Act as amended.

    Federal Water Pollution Control Act

    The Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) limits dis-

charges into the Nation's waters,  requiring the best practicable

technology by 1977. The program is developed around a permit

system that focuses on point sources of discharge such as industrial

plants and municipal sewage treatment facilities.  Industries dis-

charging into municipal sewage systems must pretreat their effluents

to ensure compatibility with the processes used by the sewage treat-

ment plant.  The Act also includes a section providing for special

limits on effluents  containing toxic materials that pose special


    FWPCA authorizes EPA to delegate the responsibility for major

parts of the water pollution control program—including the entire


permit program—to the States.  EPA is then responsible for over-
seeing the State program.  At the time the Kepone problem surfaced,
Virginia was in the process of receiving the permit authority.

    Clean Air Act of 1970
    The Clean Air Act establishes two kinds of air pollution controls.
For the common, widespread, multiple-source pollutants, the Act
sets National Ambient Air Quality Standards.  Particulates,  carbon
monoxide, nitrogen oxides,  sulfur oxides, oxidants, and hydro-
carbons are covered by such standards.   For hazardous air pol-
lutants, the Act provides for national emission standards, which
have been set for mercury,  asbestos, and beryllium, and proposed
for vinyl chloride.
    The Act is primarily carried out by the States.  Each State
prepares a State Implementation Plan, which sets forth schedules
for abating sources of the major air pollutants and also establishes
procedures for enforcing the hazardous emission standards.  EPA
had approved Virginia's plan, thus making the State responsible for
enforcing the plan,  including monitoring air quality to determine that
the standards are met.

    Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act
    The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide,  and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA),
as amended in  1972, requires EPA to register pesticide products if
it is shown that they will be effective and will not pose a risk of
unreasonable adverse effects to man or the environment when they


are used as directed.  The registration process is intended to pro-

tect health and the environment by requiring appropriate premarket

testing, packaging, and adequate label directions and warnings.

    FIFRA requires that all plants producing pesticides after

October 1974 be registerered by EPA, and that such establishments

provide EPA with production figures and make other books and records

accessible. Inspection authority is limited to areas where books and

records are kept and to areas where inspectors can take samples

and check labels of pesticides that are packaged,  labeled, and ready

for shipment.  FIFRA  does  not regulate the working conditions in

pesticide establishments and provides no authority to inspect manu-

facturing processes.

    Occupational Safety and  Health Act

    Under the  Occupational Safety and Health Act,  the Occupational

Safety and  Health Administration (OSHA) has the responsibility for

assuring, as far as possible, that every worker in the United States

is provided by his employer with safe and healthful working con-

ditions.  The Act requires employers to comply with job safety and

health standards issued by OSHA. In administering the law, OSHA

is empowered to inspect workplaces.  When violations are dis-

covered, employers are issued appropriate citations,  subjected to

proposed monetary civil penalties,  and notified of periods allowed

for correcting the alleged violations.

    In addition, OSHA assists and monitors those States wishing to

administer their own job safety and health plans.   OSHA must


approve State plans, and the plans must be implemented during a trial

period. Although a State without an approved plan can act in a con-

sulting capacity,  it is preempted from enforcement on any issue for

which Federal standards exist.  At the time of the Kepone incident,

Virginia's plan had not been approved.

    Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act

    The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as amended, provides in

part for limiting pesticide residues in food.  A food is defined as

adulterated if it bears or contains a pesticide residue that is in

excess of allowable levels specified under the Act, and thus becomes

unlawful and subject to regulatory action by the Food aand Drug

Administration (FDA).  Besides having the authority to seize inter-

state shipments of adulterated foods, FDA may seek an injunction

against a firm and invoke criminal penalties.  FDA has the authority

to inspect food production, processing, storage, and distribution

firms to determine if any pesticides used are registered with EPA

and if their use is consistent with that registration.

    FDA's enforcement actions are based on legally permissible

levels  (tolerances), as established by EPA, for pesticides residues

in food.  These tolerance levels may be set to permit levels of un-

avoidable pesticide contamination; to establish a maximum level for

residues from pesticides applied to food crops; to limit levels for

pesticides as food additives when used on processed foods; and for

pesticides used on raw agricultural commodities when their level

of residue concentration would be increased by processing.


    In the absence of a promulgated tolerance level, FDA may adopt

an informal "action level" based upon EPA recommendations.  This

has been done in cases where residues occur from indirect contam-

ination by substances for which EPA  has not set any tolerance.


    Water Pollution

    In June 1973, Virginia enacted legislation to qualify the State as

the delegated authority for control of water pollution within its

boundaries; formal delegation was made March 31,  1975. In the

interim period,  Virginia assembled the required information and

in effect approved permits; EPA confined its activities to reviewing

any permit it received from the State.

    Air Pollution

    Since Virginia's Implementation Plan had been approved, the State

was responsible for protecting the quality of the air outside  the Hope-

well plant.  In effect, the Clean Air imposed on Life Science the

responsibility to limit its emissions so that ambient air quality

standards would be met.  This responsibility,  as implemented by

Virginia, meant that Life Science  had to have a permit allowing the

facility to operate and describing  the manufacturing process, the

name of the product, and its physical and chemical properties, as

well as the limits  on emissions.  The hazardous emissions stand-

ards did not apply to Life Science since it did not use  or produce

any of the substances for which standards had been  set.


    Occupational Safety and Health

    The Virginia Department of Labor and Induustry is responsible

for compliance inspections and enforcement of the State safety and

health regulations.  However, since Virginia's plan had not been

approved by OSHA, the Department's program was not operational.

Furthermore, it did not have a close working relationship with


    Section 32-12 of the Code of Virginia

    Emergency authorities in Section 32-12 of the Code of Virginia

(1954),  as amended, permit the State Board of Health to suppress

nuisances that are dangerous to public life and health but  not covered

by general rules.


    According to the FWPCA requirements for permits, EPA and

the State must be notified when new waste materials are introduced

into a publicly-owned sewage treatment plant.  The City of Hopewell

was obligated to provide "information on the quality and quantity of

the effluent to be introduced into such treatment works and any antic-

ipated impact of such change" to the State and EPA before allowing

Life Science to connect to the municipal sewers.


Environmental Protection

    EPA's first direct involvement in the Kepone incident occurred

in October 1974 when Region m was asked for information on Kepone


by the Water Control Board.  The Board informed Region III that
Kepone was being discharged to Hopewell's sewage treatment plant,
and that it was concerned about its effect on the plant.  However,
the Board apparently did not indicate that the Hopewell digesters
had actually broken down.  In November 1974, Region El provided
background data on Kepone, told the Board of the toxic nature of
Kepone, and suggested a limit of  0.4 parts per billion (ppb) in
discharges into a municipal system. From then until July 1975,
when Kepone was discovered in workers at the Hopewell plant,
there were numerous contacts between the Water Control Board
and Region IE.  During one of these contacts, about March 18,
1975, EPA told the Board that Kepone was  similar to the pesticide
Mirex, that it did not degrade quickly,  that EPA had no information
on pretreatment levels, and that EPA could probably not back  up a
zero discharge limitation.  In general, however,  because there was
no indication that Virginia's program was substandard and because
Region El had only one person to  review Virginia's water pollution
control activities, including the permit program, the problem of
the Hopewell sewage plant was handled primarily by the Water
Control Board.
    Following closing of the Life Science plant on July 24, 1975,
the Water Control Board notified  Region III, but it did not indicate
the scope of the problem.  Region El investigated as a result of
newspaper stories. In August, Virginia asked EPA to undertake a
health and environmental sampling program. Almost 3 months


were required to develop standardized analytical test procedures,
so it was December before EPA's Health Effects Research Labora-
tory in Research Triangle Park was able to show that Kepone con-
tamination was widespread. About  this time, in response to a
request from the Governor of Virginia, EPA appointed the Region
HI Administrator to coordinate all activities relevant to the Kepone
    From September 1975 on,  EPA  gathered evidence on the Kepone
incident and consulted with the Department of Justice through the
U.S. Attorney on possible legal actions. EPA informed FDA of
the James River contamination and  later recommended action levels
to FDA for seizure of Kepone-contaminated fish and shellfish.  On
January 13,  1976,  in response to an inquiry from the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers,  EPA advised the Corps to halt further main-
tenance dredging and disposal in the James River because of Kepone
contamination of river sediments.
    In September 1976, responding to  a request from the Governors
of Virginia and Maryland, EPA agreed to undertake a study of the
feasibility of mitigating Kepone contamination in Hopewell and the
James River. With $1.4 million, the Kepone Mitigation Feasibility
Project began on March 31, 1977.   Its report was completed in
June 1978.

Product Control—Pesticides
    In 1959,  Kepone was registered with the U.S. Department of
Agriculture  as a technical material.  Other companies then

purchased and formulated the material into end-products that also
had to be registered. About 40 different products have been regis-
tered by 26 companies, including Allied Chemical.
    The 1972 Amendments to FIFRA require that any plant producing
a pesticide after October 1974 be registered with EPA.  In March
1975, EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs learned that an
unregistered company.  Life Science, was producing a pesticide
in Hopewell.  This information came from an EPA representative
who was investigating the water pollution problems involving Life
Science. A few days later,  an EPA pesticide inspector visited Life
Science, telling company officials that if the product was indeed  a
pesticide, it  would have to be registered to travel in interstate com-
merce.  However, in April,  Allied Chemical wrote to EPA,  con-
tending  that Kepone was a pesticide  component because it underwent
further  formulation by grinding and  dilution at Allied's Baltimore
plant and, therefore, under existing regulations Life Science did
not have to be registered as a pesticide producer.  EPA delayed
responding, while awaiting for revision of the regulations under the
1972 amendments.  In the meantime, on March 29, Allied applied
for registration of the technical grade Kepone produced at Life
Science. Under the  new regulations, promulgated in July 1975,
Kepone  was classified as a pesticide subject to FIFRA.  In August,
after the Life Science plant was closed, Region HE issued an order
to the company to stop the sale, use, and removal of all Kepone
from its premises.  In  February 1976, a similar order was issued

to Allied Chemical's plant in Baltimore, which served as the dis-
tribution point for Kepone produced at Hopewell.
    Although FIFRA gives EPA regulatory control over the use of
pesticides,  it had little applicability to the Hopewell incident
because EPA cannot enter the manufacturing area of a pesticide
plant or regulate working conditions.  Nevertheless, EPA took two
steps in its  pesticides operations to tighten control  over this type of
situation. EPA Regional Administrators are now required to direct
inspectors and enforcement personnel to look for adverse  effects on
water and air during their periodic pesticide inspections.  The sec-
ond step is reviewing the registrations of certain pesticides.  FIFRA
requires that EPA reregister all pesticides by October 1977.  Under
EPA regulations,  chemicals that fall into certain categories--car-
cinogens, for example—will be presumed to be inappropriate for re-
registration.  The manufacturer has the opportunity to "rebut" this
presumption by providing information showing that the risks  are
small or are outweighed by the benefits of use.

Occupational Safety and Health
    OSHA was first notified of the working conditions at the Life
Science plant in September 1974 through a complaint filed  in  its
Richmond office by a former employee of Life Science. The em-
ployee asserted that he was fired when he refused to work in
unhealthy working conditions.  He was told that OSHA could not pro-
cess the complaint as a regular safety complaint because he was  a
former employee; however, OSHA could handle the  case as one of

discrimination because he had been fired.  The complaint was closed
out when Life  Science stated that the employee had been fired for re-
fusing to follow orders.
   The health charge was turned over to the only industrial hygienist
in OSHA's area office.  He was responsible for 37, 000 establishments,
including 200 chemical plants.  After a survey of literature avail-
able  at OSHA, which consisted of information on effects of Kepone
at its application strength, the hygienist concluded that an  inspection
of Life Science plant did not warrant a high priority because Kepone
was one of the safest pesticides  in terms of human hazard.
   OSHA officially closed the file on the complaint on January 1,
1975, without  an onsite inspection.  OSHA  reopened the file after
the Virginia Department of Health closed the plant.  OSHA's failure
to inspect the  plant was unfortunate because the conditions at the
plant were such that greater protection to workers and better house-
keeping procedures were needed regardless of Kepone's toxicity.
   Assuming  that no employees were being exposed to workplace
hazards and still unaware of the very serious nature of Kepone ex-
posure, OSHA did not inspect the Life Science plant until a month
after the Virginia Department of Health ordered it closed.   OSHA
found that under the "cleanup" agreement negotiated with the State,
limited processing of raw material on hand was continuing.  This
operation was actually producing a more concentrated form of
Kepone, rather than simply cleaning up the plant.  As a result,
OSHA imposed further measures to protect the workers engaged


in cleanup and returned in early September to see they were being
carried out.  In addition, OSHA issued four fines against the com-
pany totaling $16, 500.
    Since the Kepone incident, OSHA has beefed up its inspection
forces, issued new directives for handling discrimination and
health hazard complaints,  established procedures to obtain more
toxicological data,  and improved coordination with other public

Food Quality Protection
    In September 1975, FDA was informed by EPA of the contami-
nation of the  James River.  Because of problems related to adopting
an analytical method,  it  was December before FDA was informed
that shellfish were  contaminated with Kepone.  The most difficult
task facing FDA was development of valid analytical methods for
detecting Kepone residues at low levels and with a  high degree of
accuracy.  This point  is  crucial since the analytical methods FDA
uses to support an enforcement action must be validated by several
FDA laboratories and  be shown to produce reliable quantitative
    On February 25, 1976, EPA recommended action levels to FDA
for seizure of Kepone-contaminated fish and shellfish,  and in March
1976, FDA established the levels.  As a result of the Kepone inci-
dent,  FDA has asked EPA for information relevant to several major
reviews it is making to determine if its procedures for regulating
pesticides in foods  are adequate or should be substantially revised.
                              VI-2 2

    The Federal Government in May 1976 indicted Allied Chemical,
Life Science,  the City of Hopewell, and several individuals on 1, 097
criminal counts of violating Federal antipollution laws.  In October,
after entering a no-contest plea,  Allied Chemical was fined $13. 2
million on the counts of discharging Kepone to the James River.
However, the Government was unable to obtain convictions against
Allied  on conspiracy charges and on charges that Allied used Life
Science as a means of circumventing pollution laws.  Government
attorneys have long sought to establish a precedent that tolling or
its  equivalents in other industries should not enable a corporation
to avoid liability for any violations of law that  may occur.
    The Allied fine was later reduced to $5 million after Allied set
up the  Virginia Environmental Endowment with an initial donation of
$8 million.  Life Science Products was fined the maximum amount
permitted by law. However, neither the company nor its two owners
have any assets. In another action, a Federal court fined the City
of Hopewell $10, 000 for failing to notify the State that it had per-
mitted Life Science to connect to its sewer system.

Before Closing of Life Science Plant
    Water Pollution
    While the Life Science plant was being built,  the Virginia State
Water  Control Board was evaluating the City of Hopewell's appli-
cation  for a permit to discharge effluents from its sewage treatment

plant to the James River.  The permit application, filed in October
1973, stated that no industries discharged into the municipal sewage
system; at the time, each of the four major chemical plants in
Hopewell had its own treatment facility.   The City later gave Life
Science permission to discharge into the municipal sewage system
but did not inform the Water Control Board of the addition of this
industrial discharge.   As early as March 1974, shortly after Life
Science began operation, the digesters at the sewage treatment
facility were shut down by the Kepone-contaminated wastes, but the
City informed neither EPA nor the State.  By August,  the City
required the plant to install pretreatment measures to reduce
Kepone discharges.
    The State Water Control Board first became aware of the problem
when one of its engineers visited Hopewell in early September  1974 to
review the permit for its sewage treatment plant.  Told that the Life
Science plant was causing a problem but that it was being remedied,
he decided to give Hopewell two weeks to  make corrections.  In
October, a State Water Control Board representative visited the Life
Science plant and found that Kepone contamination was serious--
68, 000 ppb in the digesters and 3, 200 ppb in discharges from the
Life Science plant.  Nonetheless, on October 31, the State Water
Control Board granted Hopewell a wastewater permit with no
requirement for monitoring or limiting Kepone discharges.  On the
same day, however, at a metting with the State Water Control
Board, the State Health Department, and  the City of Hopewell,  Life


Science agreed to implement a continuous monitoring system and to

establish levels of Kepone and related wastes that would be nontoxic

to the digesters.

    Efforts to gather information expanded.  The State Water Control

Board asked EPA for information on Kepone.  Because much of

Hopewell's industrial wastewater recycles into a drinking water

intake, the Health Department tested  drinking water for pesticides,

but found no Kepone.

    By the end of November, the Hopewell problem  became public

knowledge when the Hopewell News published an account of the

Kepone-induced breakdown of the digesters.  Meanwhile, the State

Water Control Board and the Department of Health had decided

that the Kepone level in the  receiving waters  of the  municipal plant

should be limited to 0. 0167  pounds per day (equivalent to 0. 5 ppb),

with a maximum concentration of 100 ppb. The sewage treatment

plant effluent would be limited to 0. 5 ppb, and the water of Bailey's

Creek near the treatment plant discharge  should have less than 0. 4

ppb. The decision was presented at a December 11 meeting attended

by representatives of the State Water Control Board, State Depart-

ment of Health, the City of Hopewell, and Life Science. At the

meeting, a decision was reached to amend the Hopewell permit by

setting Kepone  effluent limitations and pretreatment and monitoring

requirements; these amendments would be proposed for formal

adoption after a 30-day public notice period.  Actually, the process

of amending Hopewell's permit took several months.  On April 9,


1975, the State Water Control Board formally recommended amend-
ments to be effective in June to probide time for negotiations among
concerned parties, a 30-day public notice period, and EPA approval.
At a meeting on April 11, the Board became convinced of the need
to speed up  action on the continuing problems at Hopewell and set
a. May 16 deadline for Life Science to build an asphalt-lined lagoon
to hold the contaminated sludge and to pretreat wastes before dis-
charging them into the sewer system.  In addition, during this
time, the Board sought further information on Kepone, worked with
the City and Life Science,  and tried to find out what should be done
with the accumulated contaminated sludge.
    Life Science made a number of modifications during this period
to reduce discharges of Kepone.  Nonetheless, in June it still was
violating the limits set in the amended permit.
    Although Life Science was required under the Clean Air Act to
have an operating permit that set limits its emissions, it did not
obtain a permit.  Shortly after it began operating, the plant released
sulfur trioxide when equipment malfunctioned.  The Virginia Air
Pollution Control Board learned of the emission and cited the company
for failing to obtain a permit.

    Occupational Safety  and Health
    State air and water inspectors, as well as Hopewell officials,
went inside  the Life Science plant and inspected operating procedures.
However, their primary focus was on air and water pollution problems.

and they made no connection of operating conditions with the health of
plant workers.
    Two industrial hygienists from the Health Department's Bureau
of Industrial Hygiene were also on the premises in June 1975 as part
of a group that was investigating the plant's dumping of hexachloro-
cyclopentadiene into the Hope well sewer system in May.   The City
had closed the Life Science Plant because fumes carried through the
sewer had caused a worker at the sewage treatment plant to require
medical attention.  Apparently, this incident did not trigger concern
over possible danger to workers at the Life Science plant. The
question remains why no one recognized the hazard.  More than  75
people were affected by Kepone in varying degrees over the 16 months
the Life Science plant was in operation. The first worker was affected
apparently within three weeks  of the startup. As many as 20
employees had gone to physicians, and many had been placed tranqui-
lizers or other drugs for  fatigue or nervousness.  Much of the
difficulty may have stemmed from the fact that the disease is unusual,
and that the workers tended to go to their own private physicians,
many of whom were outside the Hopewell area.  The company doctors
reportedly had found no evidence  of systemic problems in any of the
workers they treated.  Only one physician suspected occupational
exposure and took the initiative to find a laboratory, at the Center
for Disease Control in Atlanta, capable of testing for Kepone and to
submit a blood sample with specific instructions to test for Kepone.

    When the State Health Department was notified of the Kepone
poisoning,  it inspected the Life Science plant a few days later, on
July 23, 1975.  There was a massive Kepone contamination of the
building, air, and ground.  The odor of hexachlorocyclopentadiene
was strong enough to cause eye irritation.  The only personnel pro-
tective equipment in evidence were three respirators,  which appeared
not to have been used in some time, and some hard hats.  In the dryer
area, there was a thick layer of dust everywhere.  An examination of
the employees found seven with symptoms of neurological illness,
several severe enough to  require hospitalization.
    These findings led the Health Department to close the plant under
autority of Section 32-12 of the Code of Virginia and to order the
company to begin immediately to clean up the site.  Under terms
of the agreement, the company was allowed to continue to process
any raw material on hand.

After Closing of Plant
    In August, the State asked EPA for help in determining the extent
and effects of Kepone contamination, and in September set up an Ad
Hoc Committee consisting of members of the State Water Control
Board, State Health Department,  and the City of Hope well to deter-
mine the methods and costs of cleaning up the plant site and disposing
of any waste materials.  Later in December, the State set up an inter-
agency Kepone Task Force, with the Health Department as lead
agency, to coordinate the State's  acitivities.  When the State received
EPA's monitoring results in December, the Governor closed the

James River to fishing until at least July 1, 1976; subsequently the
ban was extended through 1978.  The Governor also asked EPA to
assign a top level coordinator to oversee the cleanup.
    In January 1976, the State Water Control Board started a long-
range program for monitoring the contamination of the James River.
It involves extensive sampling of water and sediments at 48 locations
and of fish in seven zones. At the same time, Virginia's Division
of Consolidated Laboratory Services developed and implemented pro-
tocols and analytical methods for measuring the amount of Kepone
in the air, water, soil, sediment, plants,  and animals.  The proto-
cols are used in the State's fish market sampling and seed oyster
sampling programs, as well  as the other continuing Kepone moni-
toring programs.
    In July 1977,  the Virginia Health Department signed a contract
with Flood and Associates, Inc., to investigate methods of disposing
of Kepone-contaminated wastes.  Public meetings were held in
August and October to discuss the alternatives under consideration.
    The State of Maryland also began to assess impacts of Kepone.
Its  efforts included the  containment and safe storage of Kepone at
Allied's facility in Baltimore.  Residents near the plant were
screened  for Kepone; none was found to have detectable levels  in
blood samples.  A playing field next to the Allied plant showed trace
levels of Kepone  along a common fence; the park was closed, and
the land stripped and resoded with clean material.

were tested for Kepone.  Amounts varying from low to nondetectable
were found, but only one oyster bed had amounts exceeding the FDA
action levels. It was closed for a year then reopened after no Kepone
was  detected. Kepone was not near the action levels in blue crabs or
bluefish sampled on the Maryland side of Chesapeake Bay, nor was
it detected in the sediments.  Maryland has a continuing fish market
sampling program for Kepone, and the Maryland State Health De-
partment requires that Virginia certify that seed oysters are free
from Kepone before they can be transplanted in Maryland  waters of
the Bay.
   The routine maintenance dredging of the James Riveer for navi-
gational purposes posed an additional problem.  Since it might  dis-
perse Kepone downstream,  creating more widespread contamination
and threatening the Bay,  the Corps of Engineers, in cooperation with
the Virginia Water  Control Board and EPA, undertook experimental
dredging of selected shoal areas in July 1976 and found that increased
water and sediment contamination was confined to  the dredge areas.
The  next routine dredging is scheduled for 1979.

   In response to the Kepone  incident. Allied Chemical provided the
State with considerable toxicological data on Kepone. How much of
this  information had been transmitted to Life Science or properly
brought to its attention is unclear.  In November 1975, Allied Chem-
ical  cleaned up the  Life Science plant site.  The plant was dismantled,
and contaminated materials were put in steel drums. All wastes were

taken to the sewage treatment plant where, with the contaminated

sludge, they await ultimate disposal. Also, the company has under-

taken in-house and contractual research into certain aspects of the

Kepone contamination problem, but little information has been

released because litigation is still pending.

    In addition to the $5 million fine  and the $8 million donated to

set up the Virginia Environmental Endowment, Allied Chemical paid

the Virginia government $5. 2 million to settle all but two major

environmental damage claims. The money covers  the costs incurred

to October 1977 by the State and the  City of Hopewell.  The company

also has settled many of the personal injury claims made against it

by about 75 persons affected by Kepone, most of whom were pro-

duction workers at Life Science and  members of their families.  Still

to be settled or decided by a court are some additional personal injury

claims, claims by 400 watermen who make their living by fishing the

lower James River,  and claims by larger commercial fishing com-

panies that operate in the James River  and the Chesapeake Bay.  The

State and Allied Chemical agreed to  postpone settlement of any claims

for removing Kepone from the James River for up to  3 years to give

more time for study.   Settlement of  claims for disposal  of contam-

inated material has also been postponed.


    As in most environmental emergencies today, an  accurate assess-

ment of the resources  and disruptions occasioned by the Kepone

incident is impossible.   Of necessity, actions were carried out in


without chargeable accounts and designated resources.  Also, many
of the facts in the Kepone incident are still not public because of
continuing litigation.  In addition to these problems, any account-
ability of resources applied would have to evaluate the impact on
other programs deferred because of the environmental emergency.
    The best that can be done in assessing the financial aspects of
the  Kepone incident is to cite those documents and communications
that give partial estimates and make appropriate corrections and
extrapolations.  The most comprehensive account,  an internal docu-
ment prepared by Virginia,  lists costs of $4. 8 million from July 1975
to June 30, 1976, and estimates costs of $4. 1 million for the rest of
1976.  The estimated costs are subject to revision.  The  $8. 9 million
is divided as follows:
    o   Federal Government:  $22. 3 million
       EPA's costs totalled $525,000; costs for workmen's compen-
       sation and under the Comprehensive Employment and Training
       Act were also about a half million each.  The largest amount,
       $750, 000, is an estimate  for the remainder of the site clean-
       up (for example,  the sludge lagoon).
    o   State of Virginia:  $923, 000
       About 80 percent of expenditures was for agency costs, with
       the remainder for cleanup efforts.
    o   City of HopeweU:  $151,000
       The bulk of the City's Kepone-related expenses--such as per-
       sonnel costs and repair of the sewage treatment plant--could

                              VI-3 2

       not be estimated.  The largest itemizable cost was $125, 000
       for cleanup operations.
   o   Allied Chemical:  $200,000
       The only cost listed was for cleanup of the Life Science plant.
   o   Former Life Science employees:  $1,670,000
       The major economic cost to the majority of former employees
       has been lost wages, which are estimated at $1.9 million.
       Income from other sources, including unemployment insurance
       compensation and disability insurance for injured employees,
       has been deducted from this total.  No  adjustment was made
       for workers who minimized their losses by finding other
   o   Losses to fishing and related industries:  $3.7 million  Har-
       vesters lost $1.1 million,  processors $1.4, and marinas and
       liveries $1.2 million.  Long-term developments could make
       these short-term losses appear minor.
   EPA made a separate analysis of its expenditures in response
to a request from the Department of Justice.   From July 1975 to
September 1976, EPA estimated expenditures  at $1.9 million.
During 1977, EPA's efforts continued and new activities were under-
taken,  including the Kepone Mitigation Feasibility Project,  which
has an in-house  staff of three and $1.4 million in contract support
for the 1-year period starting March 31, 1977. Another major
expenditure  is the continued funding for the Gulf Breeze Environ-
mental Research Laboratory.  Considering these two efforts alone,


EPA's costs in 1977 were at least an additional $1 million.  Thus,

it appears that EPA's costs to date may be about $3 million.

    Virginia's costs through September 1977 may be recovered from

its  settlement with Allied Chemical.  This $5. 2 million settlement

was intended to cover the State's expenses in the Kepone incident.

    None of these figures includes the extensive legal costs incurred

by all litigants or the internal costs to Allied Chemical.  The com-

pany has already paid out $18. 7 million, and all settlements have not

been made.

    While no estimates exist for the total resources and costs  of the

incident to date, various sources unofficially estimate  that 200 man-

years of effort have been expended,  primarily in the immediate

actions. No appreciable effort or money has been spent for the final

cleanup of the widespread andd persistent contamination of the land

and the James River.


    Life Science's production of Kepone raises questions about the

operation's  compliance with requirements of four Federal laws—

FWPCA, Clean Air Act, FIFRA, and OSHA.  In the case of FWPCA,

the  firm obtained permission from Hope well to discharge into the

municipal sewer system, but the City failed to obtain State approval

of the connections to its  sewers system and did not inform the State

of subsequent problems.  In the case of the Clean Air Act,  the firm

failed to obtain a proper permit and had excessive emissions re-

quiring control.  In the case of FIFRA, the firm was required to


register as a pesticide-producing establishment but did not do so.

In the case of OSHA, the firm did not make reasonable efforts to

provide a safe workplace; sanitation was inadequate and contamination


    A fifth Federal law, the Food, Drug,  and Cosmetic Act, came

into play when the environmental contamination was discovered and

Kepone residues were detected in fish and shellfish intended for

human consumption.

    It is not clear why Life Science operated without taking better

sanitation measures and without obtaining an air pollution control

permit.  Under its contract with Allied Chemical,  Life Science was

responsible for meeting any governmental requirements, including

environmental regulations, and any costs to meet requirements would

be passed through to Allied.  Hence,  avoidance of costs per se does

not seem to be a motive for any negligence  in sanitation.  Alternative

explanations for Life Science's failure to meet requirements include

management ignorance and negligence or disregard of accepted sani-

tation practices it was concentrating on increasing production.

    Once the plant began operation, efforts  to bring the firm into

compliance occurred under local, State, and Federal laws.  Each

Federal law has its own requirements for compliance  and mandates

a separate enforcement mechanism.  These efforts proceeded almost

entirely independently, with differing degrees of success, until dis-

covery of Kepone-induced illness among workers led to the abrupt

closing of the plant.  The Interagency Regulation Liaison group,


(EPA, FDA, OSHA, and Consumer Product Safety Commission) is
developing a plan to coordinate monitoring for compliance with
with Federal laws by establishment of common criteria for planning
program activities,  and coordinating inspection, sampling, analytical
and enforcement activities.  This will result in referral inspections,
joint inspections,  and crossover inspections.   A checklist will be
developed to be used by investigators of each  agency to identify
possible violations of laws enforced by other agencies.
   Particularly pertinent is the question of whether the information
available on Kepone should have alerted water pollution control ex-
perts to the potential magnitude of the environmental hazard.  The
characteristics of Kepone were associated with those of Mirex,
another chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticide.  This class of chemicals
has long been considered particularly hazardous to the environment
because they tend  to be persistent, to bioconcentrate, and to have
chronic effects at  low levels. While the environmental effects of
Mirex are the subject of vigorous controversy, it is generally
agreed that contamination of water is to be avoided. Thus,  it seems
that someone should have recognized the danger to the  James River
sooner.  The problem with the sewage treatment plant, however,
may have tended to focus concern on this more immediate matter.
   The regulatory efforts  under the various laws followed a similar
pattern, highlighting crucial issues that must be considered to help
prevent such incidents.  Identifying the problem, correctly assessing
its possible magnitude, and bringing regulatory authorities to  bear


are three critical issues.  Coordination of the actions under these
laws is a fourth major issue.  A fifth issue involves the relationship
between Federal agencies and the  State agencies that may have been
delegated regulatory activities under Federal laws. A sixth issue
raised by the Kepone incident is whether adequate procedures exist
to ensure that persons adversely affected through no fault of their
own are somehow assisted.


    In June 1973, EPA announced that unusually high concentrations

of asbestiform fibers had been found in the western end of Lake

Superior, as well as in the drinking water supplies of Duluth,

Minnesota, and other communities using water from that part of the

Lake (Figure Vn-1).  Analyses showed the fibers were the same

composition as fibers slurried into the Lake by Reserve Mining Co.,

and could only have come from that source.  For that reason, the

Reserve cases*  will be discussed here.

    The State of Minnesota, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS),  the

Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the U. S.. Army Corps of

Engineers (COE) and EPA were the primary participants in working

to resolve the problem of asbestiform-fiber contamination of the

Duluth water supply.

    At the request of EPA,  in 1972, the United States  had sued

Reserve Mining  Co.  for violating the Refuse Act and water quality-

standards at its  taconite  beneficiation (processing of low-grade

iron ore into a higher grade industrial raw material) plant in Silver

Bay, Minnesota. The State of Minnesota intervened in the litiga-

tion, raising the issue of violation of State air pollution control
^Reserve Mining Co..  et al.,  v.  EPA, et. al.,  consolidated cases
argued in U.S. District Court, Minnesota, and U. S. Court of Appeals,
Eighth Circuit; Reserve Mining Co., et al., v. Minnesota Pollution
Control Agency, et al., consolidated cases argued before the Sixth
Judicial Circuit and Supreme Court, State of Minnesota.

           •  BEACH

          TWO HARBORS

regulations set under the Federal Clean Air Act.  A series of
Federal court decisions found Reserve to be in violation of these
air and water quality provisions and ordered the company to
institute abatement activities.  These remedies are still pending.
    Reserve's wastes had been known to contain asbestiform fibers
for some time, but they were not considered to present a health
hazard until studies showed that asbestiform fibers in air  caused
several adverse health effects, including  cancer.  The fiber in
taconite were characterized as being similar, but not identical, to
the fibers that presented an inhalation hazard.  No evidence that
ingested asbestiform fibers were a health hazard had appeared in
the scientific literature.  Some studies have been started, but their
preliminary results are not expected before late 1978.  Epidemic-
logical studies have been inconclusive.  In late spring 1973, after
EPA analyses revealed that Duluth's water supply contained asbesti-
form fibers,  the Water Supply staff of EPA's Region V Office, in
Chicago, Illinois,  established the Duluth Asbestos Study Team,  to
recommend possible solutions.  The COE, USGS, and CEQ also
participated.  On June 15,  1973,  the Team's finding of asbestiform
fibers was announced, and on June  27, its recommendations were
released.   The State had conducted its own study, also completed
and released before the end of June.
    Between June 1973 and January 1975,  several studies were
conducted for EPA by COE.  In late 1973, COE evaluated filters for
interim use and conducted pilot tests to evaluate the technical and

financial requirements for filtering Duluth's water supply.  In early
1974, COE also provided filters to the city for installation at fire
stations and schools.  In April 1974,  under provisions of the Public
Health Service Act,  EPA declared Duluth's water supply unfit for
interstate carrier use.  At about this time, Duluth officials enacted
an ordinance requiring restaurants to post notices advising if their
water was filtered or not, installed the filters at fire stations and
schools, and encouraged citizens to obtain water for drinking and
cooking at such locations. With enactment of the  Safe Drinking
Water Act in 1974, demonstration grants became  available for new
treatment technology in crises areas^ A special appropriation
provided Federal funds to help build a filtration plant in Duluth.
Construction of the plant began in mid-1975, and it began  operations
on November 29,  1976.  Between mid-1974 and the completion of
the plant, COE supplied filtered water to the citizens of Duluth.
    Two other Minnesota communities. Silver Bay and Two
Harbors, which draw water from western Lake Superior are con-
structing filtration plants.  Cloquet,  Minnesota, and Superior are
obtaining their water from other sources, but one small town,
Beaver Bay,  Minnesota,  continues to draw its drinking water from
the Lake. Reserve Mining Company is seeking State permits
needed to construct its land-disposal facility, which is scheduled
to be in operation to meet a court-ordered deadline of 1980.


December 1947

April 1969
May 1969 -
January  1977
February 3,  1971
April 23,  1971

Minnesota State agencies grant per-
mission to Reserve Mining Co. to
take 130,000 gallons per minute from
Lake Superior and discharge it with
taconite tailings in suspension back
into the Lake.   Permits specify that
this activity must not result in any
adverse effects on public water

Reserve begins its first full year of
commercial operations at Silver Bay.
Permits are amended to permit
260,000 gallons per minute uptake and

Permits are again amended to allow
cycling of 502,000 gallons per minute.

The U.S. Department of the Interior
reports that some fine tailings are not
carried to the bottom of the Lake by
the current, as had been originally
believed.  The report concludes that
Reserve should be given 3 years to
begin constructing on-land waste dis-
posal facilities.

The Department of the Interior
convenes sessions of the Lake Superior
Enforcement Conference to address
contamination of the Lake, primarily
by Reserve.

Reserve rejects the on-land disposal
recommendation and proposes deep-
pipe discharge 150 feet below the Lake

Technical Committee of Lake Superior
Enforcement Conference rejects  deep-
pipe proposal  as not complying with
pollution abatement regulations.

April 28,  1971
October 25, 1971
February 2,  1972
April 1973
*June 15, 1973
* August 24, 1973
^January 1974

* March 13.  1974

* April 1974

* April 19,  1974

April 20,  1974

April 22,  1974

*May 8,  1974

June 4, 1974

June 9, 1974

August 3, 1974
EPA recommends building a pilot plant
to determine methods for and costs
of filtering Duluth's drinking water,
and initiates an Inter agency Agreement
for COE to build the plant at Duluth's
water intake and to provide add-on units
in the interim for use in fire stations
and schools.

Duluth fire stations begin distributing
filtered drinking water.

Filtration units are supplied to all
Duluth schools.

EPA rules that Duluth water is unfit
for interstate use as drinking water.

U. S.  District Court orders COE to
supply filtered drinking water to Duluth
and other affected communities.

U. S.  District Court orders Reserve to
cease dumping tailings into the Lake.
Reserve shuts down.

8th Circuit Court of Appeals stays the
order until a hearing can be held.
Reserve re-opens.

Duluth approves ordinance requiring
restaurants to post notices whether or
not their water is filtered.

8th Circuit Court of Appeals continues
the stay for 70 days, based on May 15

The U.S. Supreme Court denies  an
appeal by the State of Minnesota.

The U.S. District Court rejects
Reserve's compliance plan as  unreason-
^Relate solely to the Duluth water supply problems.   Others relate
to the Reserve case or to activities relevant to both matters.

October 18, 1974
^January 23, 1975
March 14,  1975
*May 1975
^December 1975
October 28, 1976
 "November 29,  1976
May 26,  1977
April 8,  1977
U. S. District Court rules Reserve to
be in violation of the Refuse Act and
Minnesota's air pollution control regu-
lations and permit requirements.
Decision is appealed by Reserve.

EPA and COE release studies
recommending a new water filtration
plant for Duluth.

8th Circuit Court of Appeals finds
Reserve in violation of Minnesota air
pollution control laws, Section 1160 of
the 1970 Federal Water Pollution
Control Act,  and the Refuse Act.
Court orders Reserve to initiate appro-
priate abatement activities.

U. S. Congress and the State of
Minnesota approve $4  million and $2. 5
million,  respectively, for construction
of Duluth filtration plant.

Duluth1 s mayor announces a $3 million
COE program to provide free drinking
water to residents until the filtration
plant begins operating.

8th Circuit Court of Appeals imposes
fines and penalties against Reserve.

Duluth water filtration plant, only
facility of its kind in the United States,

U.S. District Court issues order per-
mitting Reserve to discharge tailings
into Lake Superior, so long as the
company remains on an established
schedule of compliance with water pol-
lution abatement requirements.

Minnesota Supreme Court affirms  a
lower court ruling that Reserve can use
on-land disposal of wates 7 miles up the
railroad line from Silver Bay,  and sets
^Relate solely to the Duluth water supply problems.  Others relate
to the Reserve case or to activities relevant to both matters.

                           forth conditions under which the
                           permits are to be issued.

June 1977                  Reserve begins a 3-year project to
                           phase out dumping wastes in Lake
                           Superior and deposit them 7 miles

November 1, 1977          Minnesota Supreme  Court rules on
                           Reserve's petition for clarification
                           of terms governing permits relating to
                           air emission controls  and orders State
                           agencies to issue the permits within
                           10 days.

February 7,  1978           Minnesota Supreme  Court hears  argu-
                           ments by Reserve that permits should
                           be issued as previously ordered.
                           Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
                           argues  that monitoring conditions are
                           inadequate to protect public health and,
                           thus, the permits should be withheld.


    Because the Duluth water-supply problem involved more than reg-

ulatory issues, agencies and laws authorizing assistance appropriate

to the situation are also included. Laws germane to the violations by

Reserve  are cited.


    Environmental Protection Agency

Federal Water PoUution Control  Act (FWPCA) (1965)

    o  Establishes  Federal-State water quality standards and authorizes

       river basin plans for meeting such standards.

FWPCA Amendments (1972)

    o  Establishes a national policy of non-degradation of water quality

       in primitive  areas.


    o Requires State plans for achieving water quality.
       fStates issue implementing regulations]
    o Establishes the National Pollution Discharge Elimination
      System (NPDES) permits.  Conditions not described in
      effluent guidelines may be incorporated to resolve special
    o Provides for suits to restrain polluters from discharges in
      the event of imminent and substantial risks to health and
FWPCA Amendments (1977)
    o Authorizes assistance in emergencies involving release of
      contaminants and establishes a fund for this purpose.
Clean Air Act (1970)
    o Requires State Implementation Plans  to achieve primary and
      secondary ambient air quality standards.  States issue regu-
      lations based on their plans.
    o Establishes National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air
      Pollutants (NESHAPS),  some of which apply to asbestos
      activities, but not to taconite beneficiation.  A draft regu-
      lation applicable to this  activity is being prepared, largely
      as a result of this incident.
Public Health Service Act (1944)
    o Authorizes establishment of standards for interstate
      carrier water.  In 1974, Duluth's water supply was
      declared unfit for this use.  (This provision was


      superseded by the following.)
Safe Drinking Water Act (1974)
    o Authorizes demonstration grants for new treatment tech-
      nology in crisis areas.  The first such grant was made to
    o Requires setting of drinking water standards.
Toxic Substances Control Act  (1976)
    o Authorizes collection of data to determine  and document
      hazards  related to commercial chemicals.
    o Provides for regulations to minimize or eliminate unrea-
      sonable risks to health  or the environment.
All the above statutes provide for research and technical  support

    Army Corps of Engineers  (COE)
Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (also known as the Refuse Act)
    o Requires permits, based on navigational and health considera-
      tions,  for discharges into navigable waterways.  This authority
      has been partially superseded by FWPCA,  but COE still issues
      permits  for dredge-and-fill operations.
General authorities
    o Authorizes civilian construction projects.  Under this authority,
      COE performed pilot plant studies under interagency agreement
       with EPA.

   Department of Agriculture Consolidated Farm and Rural
   Development Act (1921)

   o  Authorizes funding of community facilities in rural areas.

   Department of Interior

28 Stat 398 (1894)

   o  Authorizes studies and evaluations of water resources; other

      Federal agencies may use the data in implementing their

      programs.  (U. S.  Geological Survey)

"Organic Act of May 16,  1910"

   o  Authorizes reserach on environmental problems associated

      with minerals. (Bureau of Mines.)


   The Common Law of Nuisance is often cited and occasionally rec-

ognized in Federal litigation  relating to hazards and/or environmental



   State statutes and regulations cited in litigation before State and

Federal courts include:

   Administrative Procedure Act.

   Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 105.41, forbidding unlawful appropri-

   ation of water resources.

   Minnesota Statutes, Chapters 115 and 116.  Enabling Acts relating

   to water pollution,  and to air and solid wastes, respectively.

        o MFC 1,  11  — Regulations requiring candor in dealing with


          the State Pollution Control Administration and the De-

          partment of Natural Resources.

        o APC 5,  6 -- Regulations establishing particulate stand-

          ards for emissions.

        o APC 17  -- Regulation establishing standards relating to

          asbestos in air emissions.

        o APC 1,  31  -- Regulations setting standards relating to

          ambient air quality and requiring permits for operating

          emission control facilities.

        o WPC 15 --  Regulation establishing discharge standards.

        o WPC 26 —  Regulation applying discharge standards to

          Lake Superior.

        o WPC 51 --  Regulations forbidding any activity making a

          water supply unfit to drink.

Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 116B.02, the Environmental Rights Act.

Common Law of Nuisance.

County and community ordinances relating to provision of drinking

water to residents.

County and community development,  zoning, and/or planning  ordi-



    Between 1966 and 1969, various citizens' and environmental

organizations objected to the Federal Water Quality Administration

(FWQA),  U.S.  Department of the Interior,  about Reserve Mining's


practice of dumping waste tailings into Lake Superior, claiming

that it was degrading the water quality. Several studies were  con-

ducted by FWQA's National Water Quality Laboratory in Duluth --

now the Environmental Research Laboratory (ERL),  Duluth	

during this period to characterize the wastes and to determine their

effects.  These studies resulted in a report by the Department of

the Interior that the tailings were not being deposited on the Lake

bottom by currents as Reserve had claimed, and that certain dis-

solved components  contributed to algae blooms, which were toxic

to fish. This report, released in April 1969,  recommended that

Reserve be given 3 years to begin land-disposal of the taconite

tailings.  When Reserve failed to respond to this finding of degra-

dation of water quality (in violation of FWPCA,  1966), FWQA called

the First Lake Superior Enforcement Conference, convened in May

1969.  Further sessions were held during the next year-and-a-half.

   In April 1970,  Reserve prepared a report to the Enforcement

Conference Technical Committee describing possible on-land dis-

posal sites  and several possible modifications of the company's

discharges to the Lake.  Seven of the sites were rejected without

specific arguments; 19 options were developed around the four

remaining on-land sites and discharge modifications.

   On December 7, 1970,  EPA was created,  subsuming FWQA

proposal to pipe the tailings 150 feet below the surface of the Lake.

In April, the Enforcement  Conference Technical Committee rejected

this counter-proposal.  The EPA then issued  a Notice of Violations


to Reserve, requiring remedial action to be taken or a plan for

abatement to be filed within 180 days.   At the end of the 180  days,

Reserve had done neither (as required by FWPCA-1966).  The

EPA then requested the Department of Justice (through the U. S.

Attorney) to sue Reserve for violating FWPCA.

    In February 1972, the suit was filed in the U.S. District Court

for Minnesota.  Reserve and its parent companies (Republic Steel

and Armco Steel) were named as defendants.  The charges included

violations of the Refuse Act and FWPCA-1970 (33 U.S. C.  1160,

specifically).  Various environmental groups,  development associ-

ations,  and communities were joined in the proceedings during the

first year of litigation. In April 1973,  the U.S.  District Court

ordered Minnesota to join in the suit.

    During the Enforcement Conference proceedings and the  pre-

parations for litigation, the staff of ERL-Duluth continued its

characterization and effects studies. In late 1972, optical micro-

scope examinations (as recommended by the National Institute of

Occupational Safety and Health at that time) revealed that Reserve's

tailings contained asbestiform fibers,  as did the water supplies of

Duluth and several towns on Western Lake Superior.  Prior  to this,

certain environmentalists had contended that asbestos-like fibers

were a  component of Reserve's tailings, but had not been  able to

document the charges.  The ERL findings were circulated in EPA

in early 1973, during which time further studies were made  to

determine if the fibers in the water suppplies definitely originated


with the tailings or had come from other sources.

    In March and April of 1973,  stories about the increased risk of

cancer to asbestos workers and their families, particularly in New

Jersey, began to appear in the news media.  Although the hazards

of inhaled asbestiform fibers appeared to be well documented,   it

was not clear if ingested asbestiform fibers presented similar

hazards.  Animal feeding studies were begun, but results are not

expected before late 1978,  largely because of the length of time

involved in developing testing protocols.  At that time,  two conflict-

ing concerns were at work. First, many (but not all) toxic sub-

stances present risks by more than one exposure routej thus, there

was a strong indication of a hazard,  even if its extent could not be

documented.  Second, little was known about removal of asbestiform

fibers from water or about the safety of other possible  sources of

drinking water,  and there was reluctance to reveal problem without

knowing what could be done about it.  The ERL-Duluth and COEtook

on this latter question during the spring.

    On June 15,  1973, EPA released the report on asbestiform

fibers in the  Duluth water supply,  indicating that the fibers prob-

ably came from Reserve's tailings.  The Duluth Asbestos Study

Team (DAST) was assembled by EPA, at the request of the White

House.   Membership included representatives from CEQ,  COE,

USGS,  the State of Minnesota, two county health departments,

and Headquarters and field organizations of EPA. The State of

Wisconsin agreed to participate if any of its water supplies were


affected.  Extensive sampling was done by DAST and by EPA's

Region V Surveillance and Analysis Division and Water Supply staff

to identify more clearly the source of the fibers and to evaluate

well and ground water that might be used as alternate sources.

The USGS analyzed many  samples,  both from Duluth and possible

alternate sources.  The Environmental Support Laboratory in

Research Triangle  Park and several  contractors provided analyti-

cal support.  The ERL-Duluth established chain-of-custody for

samples to preserve their value as evidence in the litigation.

    On June 27, DAST released its report identifying available

fiber-free water  sources  and recommending studies to develop fil-

tration technology to meet the long-range water needs of the area.

On June 28, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources re-

leased a similar  report, detailing State  capabilities and authori-


    After these studies had been released, EPA entered into an

Inter-agency Agreement (IAG) with COE, whereby COE would

evaluate various  filtration technologies and establish the costs

for applying the most effective methods to Duluth1 s problem.  In

February 1974, CEQ advised the residents of Duluth not to drink

the municipal water or use it for cooking. The COE was  asked to

supply filters for use by fire stations and schools, and citizens

were encouraged to obtain water at these sites or from wells. In

April, the pilot plant studies began,  and EPA declared Duluth's

water supply unfit for inter state-carrier use, based on the


then-existing water supply authorities of the Public Health Service

Act.  A few days later, the U.S. District Court ordered COEto

provide filtered water to the citizens of Duluth, which was done

until the filtration plant opened in November 1976.

    On April 20,  1974, the U.S. District Court ruled that  Reserve's

discharges into the air and water were in violation of State and

Federal  regulations,  contained asbestiform fibers,  and presented a

substantial health hazard.  The Court issued an injunction ordering

the discharges to be halted immediately. Reserve shut down and

appealed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.   This  Court  post-

poned the injunction until arguments on the appeal could be heard,

and Reserve reopened on April 22.  The appeal was argued on

December 9, 1974.

    The Safe Drinking Water Act,  approved in  December  1974, in-

cluded a provision for grants to demonstrate new treatment tech-

nologies in crisis areas.   Duluth submitted an application in early

1975, based on the recommendations of EPA and  COE, which had

been released on January 23. This report, the end-product of the

IAG studies, recommended a new multiple-filter  system for the

city's drinking water. A special Federal appropriation of $4 mil-

lion permitted  approval of the application.

    On March 14,  1975, the 8th Circuit  Court of Appeals  ruled on

Reserve's appeal.  In essence, the Court upheld the findings relative

to air emissions of asbestiform fibers,  and reversed,  in part, the

findings  related to water pollution.  Reserve was found to be in


violation of water quality standards (33 U.S. C. 1160, FWPCA -

1970) and its Refuse Act permit.  Although imminent-hazard argu-

ments had been raised, the Court held that information concerning

the hazards of ingested asbestiform fibers was speculative, rather

than substantive. Thus, the  Court's opinion concluded that Re-

serve's tailings  did present a potential hazard and that abatement

actions  should be taken within a reasonable time.  The decision also

provided that, should Reserve and the State of Minnesota come to an

impasse over the necessary permits and conditions for abatement,

Reserve would be given 1 year to phase out operations.  However,

the court directed that Minnesota and Reserve make every effort to

come to agreement.

    In autumn of 1975, construction of the Duluth filtration plant


    After the State agencies had refused to issue the needed permits

by July 1976, the U. S.  District Court  ordered Reserve to abate its

discharges or close down by July 1977.  Reserve appealed this

order,  and, in September  1976, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

approved the abatement order, but provided that  it could be extended

if circumstances changed.  In October, this Court ruled on the fines

imposed against Reserve for violating the State water use permits,

and ordered Reserve to reimburse the COE for costs in providing

filtered water to Duluth.

    On November 29, 1976, the Duluth water treatment facility was

dedicated and opened.


    In the months before and after the opening of the filtration plant,

ERL-Duluth analyzed urine  samples from Duluth residents for as-

bestiform fibers.  Positive  findings were the first ever recorded

in the literature.  Asbestiform fiber levels were found to have been

lower several months after  the citizens began drinking the filtered


    In June 1976, Reserve applied for dredge-and-fill permits under

Section 404, FWPCA -  1972.  These permits have not been issued

because the Environmental Impact Statements are considered inade-

quate.   Because Reserve's final plans have not yet been drawn up

(see State and Local Response discussion), the Statements have not

been revised.

    The Farmers Home Administration has provided funding for

water filtration plants in Silver Bay and Two Harbors.


    Minnesota's  Water Pollution Control Commission and Depart-

ment of Conservation issued permits to Reserve Mining to use

water from Lake Superior and return it to the Lake with taconite

tailings in suspension.  These permits provided that this  activity

not result in discoloration outside the delineated return zone nor

any adverse effects on fish life and public water supplies.  The

permits were  issued in  December 1947, authorizing cycling of up

to 130, 000 gallons per minute (gpm), and revised in 1956 (260, 000

gpm) and 1960 (502,000 gpm).


at fire stations and schools.  On May 8, the City adopted an ordi-

nance requiring restaurants to post notices advising patrons  if

their water was filtered or not. Based on the January 23,  1975,

EPA-COE study report, the City contracted for engineering studies

to develop plans for the filtration plant,  applied for demonstration

grant funds,  and supervised the work of two contractors construc-

ting the facility.  These contracts were  designed to permit rapid

construction yet impose quality controls.  Had normal practices

been used, the filtration facility would have opened a year-and-a-

half later than the November  29, 1976, startup date.

    In early 1975, the Minnesota State legislature appropriated

$2. 5 million for the State's share of the costs of constructing

water treatment/filtration facilities  -- $2 million going for the

Duluth system,  and the remaining . 5 million being shared by Two

Harbors and Silver  Bay in conjunction with Farmers Home Adm-

inistration funds.

    Subsequent State Court litigation addressed the permits gov-

erning Reserve's use of Lake Superior water, the company's

emissions and effluents,  and  certain land-use issues involved in

the disposal  of the tailings.   Once the idea of land disposal had

been adopted, siting questions remained in conflict.  Reserve

wanted to use an area at Milepost 7 along its rail line to Babbitt;

DNR and  PCA were adamant that a Milepost 20 site be used.   In

April 1977, the State Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Milepost

7  site and on conditions to be incorporated into the permits,  and


ordered that the permits be issued "forthwith. "
   When DNR and PCA refused to issue the permits on the
grounds that the State Supreme Court conditions were inadequate
to protect health and welfare,  Reserve sued in State Court.  The
decision,  filed in November,  clarified  certain permit conditions
and ordered that the permits be issued within  10 days. The per-
mits were not issued and Reserve petitioned the State Supreme
Court for  an order of issuance.  These hearings were held in early
February  1978. The decision is pending.
   The State permits have been withheld because PCA and DNR
could not incorporate monitoring  conditions they felt were neces-
sary to enforce compliance and improve environmental quality,
health, and safety under the terms of the two decisions.  Reserve
has not implemented its land-acquisition plans, which had been
based in part on a trade of land with the State.  The Minnesota sites
State Land Review Commission has refused to approve any of the
sites that  the company is willing to trade for the State-owned land
needed to  develop the Milepost 7 site.  Corporate financing
questions  similarly remain unsettled.

Private Sector
   Reserve Mining and the two firms owning it (Armco Corp.  and
Republic Steel Corp.) were the primary private sector responders
of record. All three have sued and countersued on administrative


actions, and appealed each decision in State and Federal courts

as far as possible.  Their record of obedience to court orders is

marginal, and it has been necessary for those receiving favorable

judgments to institute further litigation to recover awards.  Indi-

cations are that Reserve is not in compliance with abatement

deadlines, but is making enough progress to avoid being declared

in contempt.  The latest complications are dicussed under State

and Local Response.

   The Northeastern Minnesota Development Association, Duluth

Area Chamber  of Commerce,  Range League of Municipalities and

Civic Associations, Silver Bay Chamber of Commerce, and Lax

Lake Property  Owners Association intervened on behalf of Reserve

in the matters argued before the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

   The Arrowhead Development Commission (concerned with eco-

nomic development of a seven-county port of northeastern Minnesota)

has conducted studies of the impact of environmental regulations and

enforcement actions.  Concerned that a shutdown of Reserve will

depress the entire North Shore economy,  the Commission is at-

tempting to develop alternatives to maintain economic viability in

the area.  This group believes that Reserve and Minnesota will be

unable to come to terms and that Reserve will close.

Public Sector

   The Minnesota Environmental Law Institute, Northern Minnesota

Environmental  Council, Save Lake Superior Association,  Michigan


                   Table VII-1.  Costs Incurred in Duluth, Minnesota,  Asbestos Case.


      Field activities, including initial investigations by the Duluth Asbestos Study Team: $112, 500

      Monitoring costs,  including acquisition of major equipment, and contracts for some analyses:
        $405, 750 j./

      Estimated EPA staff review and administrative support costs for filtration and pilot plant studies
        by COE: $223,000

      Demonstration plant,  including a grant (under appropriation) and review costs: $4, 004, 000


      Filtration and pilot plant studies: $41, 250

      Provision of filters and filtered water to  Duluth ($1.1 million recovered from Reserve): $3, 000, 000

<     CEQ
co     Salaries and travel expenses for on-scene investigators and advisors: $70,000

      State of Minnesota

      Oppropriation for demonstration project:   $2, 500, 000

      Study expensies (estimated):   $100,000

      City of Duluth

      Costs in providing filtered water (recovered from Reserve): $27, 920

      Total: $10,484,420
      _!_/ Includes $60, 000 for an x-ray diffractometer.  These items were procured because of the
      Duluth episode, although they have been used for other work since then.  Thus,  costs may be
      somewhat high.  Since other cost estimates are conservative, the total is probably accurate.

    A major problem, particularly in the early phases, was
acceptance by local authorities that asbestiform fibers in drinking
water were a problem.  In a 1975 interview, the Mayor of Duluth
indicated a belief that the filtration proposals were an overreaction
to a non-existent problem.  Although the City of Duluth had taken
various actions on recommendations of EPA, CEQ,  and COE,  there
was skepticism about the  extent of the problem.  In part,  this may
have been attributed to a sense that no solutions seemed imminent.
Despite the fact that demonstration grants had been approved and
the special appropriation  had been made, at that time (early 1975)
it appeared to Duluth officials that the filtration plants would not be
operating before mid 1978.   It is to their credit that they  did accept
the problem as a problem and moved to resolve difficulties, in-
cluding expediting the engineering studies and construction of the
    Two elements are needed to encourage local acceptance when
EPA identifies a problem:
    o  EPA must be  careful in identifying problems,  so that
       when it announces a problem, the announcement is taken
    o  Once a problem has been identified,  local authorities
       must be brought into the resolution process.
    EPA's track record in this regard has not always been good.
These studies indicate EPA's willingness to learn from past exper-
ience.  A second problem was the length of time (3 years) involved


in getting the solution on line.  Since much of the delay was

occasioned by the need to develop filtration technology, future

asbestiform-fiber episodes will probably be resolved far more

rapidly.  Most of the groundwork has been laid.

    The remaining problem,  highlighted by the fact that Beaver Bay

is still  drawing its  drinking water from Lake Superior, is one of

economies of scale. Whether a town with a population of about 500

could afford to avail itself of the new filtration technology is ques-

tionable.  Further refinements in filtration or additional  sources  of

funding  may be needed to prevent potential hazards to residents of

small towns.

Reserve Mining Co.

    The Reserve Mining case raises additional problems  and issues.

Asbestos in drinking water has been assumed to be an imminent

health hazard,  because many other toxic materials are known to pre-

sent risk by oral as well as inhalation exposure.  Feeding studies are

in progress, but preliminary data will not be available before late

1978.  The courts concluded that a potential hazard existed,  and that

abatement was needed.  (See discussion under Federal Response.)

    The adequacy of existing laws to address the Reserve Mining case

is another question. The inability of the FWPCA and CAA to cover

this and similar problems has been identified by EPA and the Con-

gress.  Amendments in 1972 and 1977 to FWPCA, and in 1977 to CAA,

were designed to meet these deficiencies.  There has not been enough


experience with either of the 1977 amendments to evaluate their
    Reserve did not meet the September 1977 air emission abate-
ment deadline and has indicated it will not be in compliance before
October 1978.  Further, Reserve has not been able to file sufficient
information to determine if its negotiated on-land disposal deadline
of 1980 will be met.   (The  complications are discussed under State
and Local Response.) It appears that CAA and FWPCA enforcement
and penalty provisions may not be adequate to ensure compliance
(in this case, by Reserve or Minnesota) with regulatory or court-
ordered deadlines.
    In June 1976, Reserve  applied for dredge-and-fill permits from
COE.  These permits are required before the land-disposal site  may
be developed.   The delay in issuance concerns the adequacy of the
required Environmental Impact Statements, and Reserve's inability
to agree with Minnesota over terms and conditions.  Thus, the State
has been unable to revise the Statements.
    The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) may have provided an
improved mechanism for addressing the Reserve case, particularly
because it provides a greater variety of control mechanisms than
has any previous law. Thus,  there is a strong potential for devel-
oping regulations with sufficient specificity to address a particular
problem.  Further information is needed to determine if TSCA con-
trols would be appropriate or exactly how they might be applied.


    However, Congress declared in Section 2(c) that adverse
economic impacts of actions under TSCA be considered in making
decisions.  Given the international iron and steel market, stringent
regulations could force Reserve to close down, thus weakening the
economy of northeastern Minnesota.  This shut-down possibility
appears likely, even in present circumstances.  A general problem
is to balance the need for environmental quality and health  safety
with the demand for raw materials, products, and jobs.  In this
case, the Arrowhead Development Commission has conducted
studies on the impacts of options, assuming a shut-down of the
Reserve plants.  These options ranged from an employee takeover
of the plant, to a relocation-resettlement effort.  The Commission
is pessimistic about the likelihood of an agreement between Reserve
and Minnesota that would reduce present pollution and retain em-
ployment in the area.


   On March 19, 1972, a nine-barge tow on the Ohio River struck
Shippingport Island near Louisville, Kentucky,  (Figure VIII-1) and
five barges broke loose.   One barge loaded with chrome ore sank
in the lower pool of Gate Bay #1 at the  McAlpine Dam,  part of the
Louisville Gas and Electric hydroelectric plant. Two other barges
were caught by tugboats.  A fourth barge carrying  sulfuric acid
drifted downstream and lodged in a protective structure of the plant.
The fifth barge with four tanks, each containing 160 tons of liquid
chlorine, also drifted down-river and became lodged in the Bay of
Tainter Gate #2  of the  McAlpine Dam.  The wing compartments and
the forward hopper were breached upon initial impact,  and three
more compartments were subsequently ruptured as the barge
shifted and swung into the lower pool.  During the first two days,
it was difficult to get to the chlorine barge because it was  in the
middle of the river and the river was running at a high level.
   The U. S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the Corps of Engineers
(COE) responded immediately,  with the USCG assuming the role
of On-Scene Coordinator (OSC)  for river operations. The Office
of Emergency Preparedness (the predecessor of the Federal Dis-
aster Assistance Administration) coordinated efforts of other
Federal, State,  and local  agencies to cope with the threat  of
chlorine gas being released.  On April 1, the Mayor of Louisville


                        McALPINE DAM
                    OHIO RIVER

ordered an evacuation of 4, 266 residents near the scene.  He

requested a voluntary evacuation in an adjacent area, and approxi-

mately 50 percent of the citizens did evacuate.  Indiana officials

asked for voluntary evacuation,  and again about half of the citizens

of three affected communities complied.  Evacuation lasted until

the barge was stabilized -- about 24 hours.

    The COE and USCG  decided that the best course of action would

be to stabilize the chlorine barge in position and unload the cargo.

A catamaran salvage  rig consisting of two World War n patrol craft

hulls with a heavy beam joining their foredecks was used to pass

a sling under the bow of the barge to lift and support it.  To unload

the liquid chlorine, piping was laid along the length of the power

plant, out onto the dam structure, over the top of the dam and down

to the barge.  Unloading started on April  3 and had to be halted on

April 9 when high water threatened the barge's stability.  Unloading

resumed on April  11  and was completed on April 14. The barge

was then pulled free of the dam and the water pumped out.


      Date                              Events

March 19, 1972             Chlorine barge lodges in Tainter Gate
                           # 2 of Me Alpine Dam on the Ohio River
                           near Louisville, Ky.

March 22, 1972             Decision made to stabilize chlorine
                           barge in place,  then transfer the
                            chlorine barge to a standby empty
                            chlorine barge.

March 23, 1972            National Response Team meets and
                           Regional Response Team is activated.


March 24,  1972
March 23,  1972
March 25,  1972

March 30,  1972

April 1, 1972

April 2, 1972

April 3, 197

April 9, 1972

April 11, 1972

April 14, 1972

April 16, 1972
At request of Kentucky and Indiana
Governors,  Director of the Office of
Emergency  Preparedness (OEP) in-
vokes Section 221, PL 91-606,  to
authorize Federal assistance, coord-
inated by OEP, to avert an imminent
major disaster.

OEP Field Office established in
Louisville.  Regional Directors,
OEP Regions IV and V,  plus Region
staff personnel arrive.  Regional
Director, OEP Region IV, is desig-
nated Coordinator of Federal Activities.
Personnel from the Emergency Opera-
tions Control Center of EPA's Office
of Air Programs start continuous
monitoring of the air in Louisville.

Additional personnel from EPA start
water sampling near the chlorine barge
and downstream.

Restraining lines placed on barge.

Mandatory evacuation of Portland area
ordered.  Voluntary evacuation of ad-
jacent area  of Louisville and several
Indiana  communities requested.

Chlorine barge stabilized.  Evacuees
return to their homes.

Transfer of chlorine to empty chlorine
barge starts.

High water requires catamaran to back
off, stopping removal of chlorine.

Removal of  chlorine resumes.

Unloading of barge completed.

Barge removed.


   The USCG Captain of a Port can take actions to protect vessels,

harbors, and waterfront facilities under the Magnuson Act ("the

Espionage Act") as implemented by Executive Order 10173.  The

National Response Team determined that the Federal Water  Pol-

lution Control Act (FWPCA) did not provide sufficient authority to

institute actions to protect the public from this threat to health and


   At the request of the Governors of Kentucky and Indiana, the

Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) invoked

PL 91-606 to coordinate Federal  assistance to avert an imminent

major disaster.


   At approximately 4:00 a.m. on March 19, 1972, the M/V James

F. Hunter with its nine-barge tow was  about one mile upstream of

the Louisville and Portland Canal.  The pilot blew for the Pennsyvania

Railroad bridge to raise.  As he neared the bridge, the pilot began

backing the two because the bridge had not been raised.  The current

evidently swung the tow into Shippingport Island and it broke.  The

USCG Captain of the Port of Louisville was notified.   At 5:15 a.m.,

the lock leader at McAlpine Locks and  Dam called USCG to provide

details of the incident and identify the towboat.  The  USCG and COE

responded immediately, with USCG assuming the role of OSC.  Local

civil defense, local law enforcement agencies, and superiors in the

USCG chain-of-command were notified.


    The COE and personnel from the Louisville Gas and Electric

(LG&E) hydrooelectric plant monitored progress of the barges drifting

downstream.  The sulfuric acid barge lodged in part of the power

plant.  COE tied it to the tower bases of the power plant to prevent

it from being freed by the eddy effect.

    When the chlorine barge lodged in the  McAlpine Dam,  where

access was difficult because of high water levels, representatives

from COE, Stauffer Chemical Co.  (receivers of the chlorine), and

Louisville Police Department maintained  continuous surveillance

from atop the LG&E plant to detect movement of the barge or re-

lease of gas.  A 24-hour command center was established at

McAlpine  Dam by USCG and COE.

    Initial appraisal of the situation indicated there was no immedi-

ate danger,  providing the barge did not move.  There was concern

that further movement through the Gate Bay would endanger the pro-

jecting domes that housed the gas valves.   During the afternoon, a

transit site was established to detect movement of the barge.  Hourly

readings indicated no movement was occurring.

    EPA Headquarters was notified of the  incident by  CHEMTREC,

the emergency operations center run by the Manufacturing Chemists

Association.   The information was  relayed to EPA's Region V Office

in Chicago,  Illinois, which sent a representative to the scene.  USCG

and COE officials on the scene advised EPA that everything was being

done to maintain the stability of the barge and that planning was under-

way for the salvage operations.


    On March 20, representatives of the COE, USCG, towboat
operator, chemical industry, and marine  salvage operators met to
discuss possible solutions.  The  Chlorine Institute was asked for
technical advice and to send representatives to the scene.  The
meeting  continued on March 21 to explore methods of removing the
chlorine barge.  The first suggestion explored was to remove the
barge from the dam in the manner normally used to release stuck
barges,  namely "flushing through" by manipulation of the Tainter
Gates.  All experts and consultants agreed that they could not
guarantee that the barge or the chlorine tanks would remain intact
if the barge were forced through the dam.  The risks and feasibil-
ity of each suggested method were discussed,  with emphasis on
public safety. The  group finally  agreed on a plan to secure the
barge in position, unload the cargo,  and then remove the barge.
The Chlorine Institute indicated that the cargo could be unloaded
only by providing a dry  platform  around the center of the barge
to provide  access to the four valve domes.
    At a meeting on March 22,  a  salvage contractor  suggested use
of its unusual catamaran, which could be brought to the site from
Point Pleasant,  West Virginia, in about 32 hours. The USCG
agreed.  Its plan was to use the catamaran to pass a sling under
the bow and then lift and support  it.  After this,  water shields or
lowering of the upper pool could allow unloading the  cargo.
    The Chlorine Institute agreed to provide an empty chlorine
barge.  A contractor was hired to construct the  piping required


to transfer the chlorine.  It would run the length of the hydro-

electric plant  out onto the dam structure, over the top of the

dam to Bay #2, and down to the barge.  USCG technical personnel

double checked the condition of the barge from plans and photo-

graphs.  On March 23, the OSC activated the Regional Response

Team, and COE agreed to negotiate salvage activities,  subject to

final approval by USCG.

    Actions at the scene were  monitored and reviewed by staff

members of the  Commandant, USCG.  USCG concluded that the

chlorine barge was a significant and imminent threat to public health

and safety.  USCG further concluded that it had authority to cope with

the barge and  salvage operations, but not with the actions needed to

protect the public.  The similarity between the threat generated by

this incident and disasters as  defined in PL 91-606 led the Comman-

dant to request the OEP Director to take measures to prevent loss

of life should  a chlorine discharge occur. The OEP Director re-

sponded by calling a meeting of the National Response Team, as

specified by the  National Oil and Hazardous Substances Contingency

Plan under FWPCA.  At this meeting NRT determined that:

    o   FWPCA did not provide sufficient authority to institute

       protective actions for the public in this case.

    o   Section 221 of PL  91-606 could be invoked by the Director

       of OEP upon receipt of a formal request from the Governors

       of the affected States.

   o  The National Contingency Plan and the National Response Team
      could provide a coordinating mechanism.
   o  The OSC would supervise and  coordinate waterside operations
      in conjunction with the COE salvage representatives.
   o  OEP would provide a Federal  coordinating officer to coordi-
      nate actions at all levels of government to protect the public.
   At a meeting on March 23, attended by representatives from
COE, USCG, and DuPont (the shipper of the sulfuric acid),  prelimi-
nary plans for removing the sulfuric acid barge from the southwest
corner of the power plant were reviewed.  Results of the meeting

   o  The need to remove the barge was confirmed.
   o  DuPont retained Beatty,  Inc., as consultants to  aid in form-
      ulating plans for  safe removal.  Beatty,"Inc., would position
      a derrick barge to turn the sulfuric acid barge and pull it up-
      stream. American  Commercial Barge Lines was retained to
      furnish a towboat to push the barge upstream to  a safe point
      for mooring.  The second boat would  assist passage under
      Penn Central Railroad bridge.
   o  USCG would inspect the barge and determine if it was fit for
      the planned movement.
   o  USCG would inspect the barge at a safe mooring and determine
      if it was fit to move to the destination for unloading.
   o  All agencies would have representatives at the lock and dam
      for final approval.

    The USCG Cutter Obion was stationed at the upper entrance to
the Louisville and Portland Canal to control marine traffic and
provide assistance if necessary.  An emergency operations center
was established,  operating with an around-the-clock security watch
at the vehicular entrance to the McALpine Lock and Dam.
    At a meeting on March 25, the piping arrangement for the system
to spray water over the chlorine barge was discussed.  The system,
requested by EPA to cope with any accidental chlorine discharge,
involved spraying a water curtain above the barge to protect the
salvage crew and to reduce the effects of a major discharge on the
local population.   The  system would supply enough spray in a fog to
dissolve most of the chlorine that might be released by  a fracture
of the valves or separation of the transfer lines during unloading.
The water screen would also help to contain a release long enough
to allow the evacuation of personnel  in the immediate area and evac-
uation of the general population.
    On March 26,  Beatty, Inc., towed the sulfuric acid  barge out of
the chute area and moved it around Shippingport Island.
    The flooded forward starboard compartments of the chlorine
barge were  pumped dry to increase flotation.  The sunken chrome
ore barge was removed from the upper gate site and tied up on the
Indiana side of the river.  Federal agencies remained in close con-
tact with local and State agencies. A communications network was
established  to alert the public during the critical operations to
stabilize the chlorine barge,  and Army medical personnel were on

    In the afternoon of March 29, all upper gates were closed
because the river level fell.  The pool elevation was controlled by
the lower gates.  The water fell to a level that permitted better
examination of the barge.  A crack was found in the deck that ran
from the indentation where the initial impact occurred to the raised
rim of the hopper.  To prevent the crack from enlarging,  the bow
was secured by mooring lines to the gate structure,  and the water
level was carefully controlled.   Security measures were increased.
    COE  began rigging and fabrication of materials for the chlorine
transfer  on March 30. The splash shields were constructed and in-
stalled on March 31.  In preparation for the stabilization operations,
USCG curtailed all river traffic between Mile 599 and 611  on the Ohio
River.  On April 1,  communities in the area were evacuated.
    The barge had been carefully monitored during the preparation
period, but no movement was detected.  On April 2,  the catamaran
secured the sling under the bow  of the barge, thus stabilizing it.
Traffic on the river was allowed to resume, and the  evacuees re-
turned home.  During the period of evacuation,  the American Red
Cross  set up shelters and provided meals.   Cots and blankets were
received from the Public Health Service.
    Experts from the Chlorine Institute  fabricated  a double yoke
so that any two tanks could be unloaded  at the same time.   Because
of the dangers involved in case any of the couplings should break,
they advised against unloading more than two tanks at the  same


    Chlorine is a very reactive chemical and it is unloaded by

pushing it out with nitrogen gas at approximately 200 pounds per

square inch.  The piping consisted of three lines — two to receive

liquid chlorine  and the third to introduce nitrogen into the top of

each tank.  The maximum unloading rate was estimated at approx-

imately 10 tons per tank per hour.

    In discussions prior to unloading, there was concern that:

    o  The stern would lift away from the baffle blocks as the

      cargo was removed.

    o  The bow would become  excessively buoyant as weight was

      removed from the bow tanks and tear away in the heavy

      river current, leaving the stern free to ramble over the


    o  The port side (upstream side) would become lighter than

      the starboard side, allowing the barge to roll on its side.

    To make sure the barge would not overturn, a special unloading

sequence was used.  About 20 tons would be unloaded from the star-

board tank before the port tank was unloaded.  The bow was sup-

ported only by the river current.  USCG feared that unloading the

stern tanks first would cause a lifting  and freeing of the stern.

Therefore, the bow tanks would unloaded first in a sequence that

kept the starboard tank lighter than the port.

    Installation of the splash shields and pressure tests of the

chlorine piping were completed on April  3,  and unloading began

the next day.  Approximately 100 tons of cargo were left in each


of the stern tanks because the material could not be pushed off

due to the angle of the barge and the lack of a low pipe suction in

the tanks.

    Chlorine Institute engineers proposed construction of a large

tank on the dam to "scrub" the remaining 100 tons of chlorine by

mixing it with caustic soda, thereby changing it chemically to

bleach, which is relatively harmless.  The bleach would easily

dissipate in the fast river current. This proposal was adopted.

   The salvage crew then had to wait for the rest of the chlorine

to boil off naturally.  The Chlorine Institute people estimated that

the gas would flow at  a maximum of approximately one tone per hour

from each tanko Thus,  the wreck had to be maintained in position

for another eight to ten days.  Boil off was completed by April 15.

   The River level began rising on April 9.  By April 15, the

higher water level made the barge easier to remove.  After cargo

removal, the barge was buoyant enough to float if it could be pulled

free of the concrete pier.  The barge was pulled free on april 16.

   Throughout the operations, representatives from EPA's National

Field Investigation Center,  Cincinnati,  Ohio, maintained a water

monitoring program.  The program consisted of hourly transects

across the river below the Kentucky and Indiana Terminal Railroad

bridge -- abouut one  mile below the barge. The operation was con-

ducted on a 24-hour basis during barge stabilization, and the first

gaseous transfer.  Otherwise it was conducted only during daylight



    In discussions held to determine appropriate courses of action,

the emphasis was on public safety.  OEP coordinated the efforts of

all agencies in responding to the air pollution threat.  USCG air-

lifted air monitoring equipment to the site.  EPA's Emergency Air

Quality Team from Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, set

up four chlorine detectors and three wind direction and velocity  .

instruments.  Wind speed, wind direction, and chlorine concentra-

tion were measured hourly until the barge was stabilized. USCG

and local officials assisted in monitoring the equipment.  As support

for local Civil Defense and municipal governments,  the team pre-

dicted the direction, speed,  and severity of any chlorine cloud that

might form.  This work was coordinated with COE predictions con-

cerning propagation of the gas cloud.


    The Governors of Kentucky and Indiana requested the OEP Di-

rector to invoke PL-606  authorizing Federal assistance.

    As barge stabilization activities reached the operational phase,

local governments evacuated nearby areas.  The Louisville-Jefferson

County Civil Defense  and Federal  agencies assisted in the evacuation

operations.   Louisvlle officials  selected shelters for those evacuated.

They  also coordinated with the Red Cross to provide support for these


    City and Federal representatives participated in radio programs

to answer questions on salvage operations.  Federal and local of-

ficials worked with the news media to keep the public informed.


Information was given to citizens about what to do in the event

of a chlorine discharge.  If a discharge did occur and sirens

sounded, people were advised to turn on their radio or TV sets

for specific instructions.

    The Jefferson County Air Pollution Control District worked with

EPA on the air pollution monitoring program; the Louisville Fire

Station also assisted by monitoring equipment in the station.


    The Louisville Gas and Electric hydroelectric plant provided a

platform for continuous surveillance of the barge.

    The Chlorine Institute, DuPont and its contractor,  and Manu-

facturing Chemists Association also assisted in various ways.

Stauffer  Chemical,  which was to receive the chlorine,  provided rep-

resentatives who assisted in the continuous barge watch.  Its repre-

sentatives  also participated in discussions on barge stabilization

and cargo unloading.

    The Teamsters Union assisted in distribution of cots  and blankets

to evacuation shelters.


    The total Federal cost for response and removal actions was $1.3

million.  This does not include the cost of evacuation or other actions

taken by the State or local governments.  The case was taken to court,

and the judge ruled in favor of the Government, permitting recovery

of the total Federal cost from those responsible for the incident.



    The generalizations that can be made regarding the chlorine

barge incident include:

    o  The question of who had the ultimate authority to order an

      evacuation was unclear.

    o  There is a need for predisaster planning at the Federal,

      State, and local levels.  Also, the various levels of govern-

      ment should identify executive authority to ensure proper and

      timely responses.

    o  The value of preparedness was demonstrated by the effective

      manner in which the evacuations were carried out and the

      high degree of cooperation.  Planning identified the threat,

      the peak time of danger, and the areas of greatest hazard,

      as well as facilitating installation of a warning system and

      the implementation of emergency measures.

    o  There was no formal mechanism for timely assessment of

      toxic material spills.

    o  OEP's working relationship with other involved Federal

      agencies in coping with threats to the public caused by

      imminent major disasters, when acting under the authority

      of PL 91-606,,  was unclear.


    At noon, on November 17, 1975, a division of the Pittsburgh

Weather Service issued an Air Stagnation Advisory (ASA) for the

Pittsburgh,  Pa.,  area (Figure IX-1).  The air problem was caused

by a stationary high pressure system in the Eastern third of the

country coupled with a strong double-layered temperature inver-

sion and very light winds.  Hardest hit was the Liberty Borough -

Clairton area, which had been put on air Alert at 9 p. m. on

November 16 (Figure DX-2).  The major  sources of particulates

that contributed to the Alert appeared to  be the Clairton Coke

Works of U. S. Steel (USS) and the Elrama Generating Station of

Duquesne Light Co.

    At 1 p.m.  on November 17, the EPA Region HI Office in

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,  was notified about the Pittsburgh ASA.

On November  18, meteorological conditions remained unchanged,

and air Alerts were declared in the Hazelwood,  downtown,  and

North Braddock sections of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.

Abatement procedures went into effect under the supervision of

air pollution personnel of the Allegheny County Board of Health.

On November  19, with weather conditions remaining constant,  con-

centrations  of particulate matter in the Clairton area warranted

declaring an Air Warning and eventually  an Air Emergency.  An

EPA team arrived in Pittsburgh prepared, if necessary, to


                FIGURE IX-1.

            24 HOUR  Coh READINGS 9:00 PM. NOV. 16, TO  MIDNIGHT, NOV. 20. 1975
      7.0 -,
Coh   5.0 -
      4.0 -
      3.0 -
                                                       Peak 7.80 Coh
                                                          8:00 PM
              Air Alert Declared 9:00 PM. November 16
            Alert Criterion
                                    Site:  Liberty Borough — Clairton
    Air Emergency
                                            Air Warning Declared
                                                                                             Air Alert Terminated
  24        12
November 17th, 1976
                                                    ^	,	1-

activate Section 303 of the Clean Air Act of 1970 to control air

pollution.  A team of seven people remained at the Region III

Office on 24-hour call.  Epidemiologists and meteorologists were

dispatched from the labs in Research Triangle Park (RTF),  North

Carolina, to help gather information needed for action under Section


    After meetings  between EPA and USS officials, the Clairton

Coke Works shifted to a 48-hour coking cycle by midnight of

November  19. *  Legal papers were prepared to force curtailment

of electricity generation by boiler #3 of the Elrama Station.

However, they were not implemented because the most serious

problems were from other sources.

    On November 20,  a cold front combined with a low pressure

system was moving into the Pittsburgh area.  Eventually it lowered

particulate concentrations to normal levels. By 10 p.m. that

night, the episode was over,  warnings and alerts were lifted and

the Regional EPA personnel returned to Philadelphia. Epidemi-

ologists from RTP  began to conduct respiratory  tests to see if they

could observe health effects of the episode.  USS began to return

the coking  cycle to  normal operations.

    It would be presumptious to state that the Allegheny County

crisis was totally resolved by the various Federal, State, and

*Coking is a process  of "roasting" coal to drive  off the volatile
organics.  Emissions from the process also include sulfur dioxide
and particulates. Extending the coking cycle, which  is the period
of roasting, from 18 hours, for example, to 28 hours substantially
reduces rates at which air pollutants  are omitted.


local agencies.  There can be no doubt that the primary factor

was the frontal passage and change of meteorological conditions,

improving the atmospheric ventilation of the area.  Nevertheless,

the actions taken by the appropriate agencies in encouraging major

sources to curtail their emissions unquestionably had a strong

mitigating influence on the crisis.  The authority vested in EPA

by Section 303 of the Clean Air Act is judged to have been the  major

bargaining tool in convincing USS to rapidly change to the  48-hour

coking cycle.


November 16, 1975
November  17, 1975
November  18, 1975

Air Alert is declared by Allegheny
County Health Department; USS is
ordered to initiate emisssion abate-
ment actions at its Clairton Coke
An ASA is issued for western
Pennsylvania.  EPA Region
advised of the ASA.
An air Alert is declared for downtown
Pittsburgh and North Braddock. Air
deterioration continues, and EPA
sends two teams to Pittsburgh to begin
collecting data for possible actions
under Section  303 of the Clean Air
Act.  County Commissioner advises
the  public that an air Emergency level
has been reached.  The Region El
Administrator arrives at Pittsburgh to
coordinate EPA actions. USS agrees
to further reduce emission by going
on a 48 -hour coking cycle.

November 20, 1975         Air Quality begins to improve,  and
                           the ASA is terminated at noon on
                           November 20.

    The legal framework for reacting to an air pollution episode is

contained in the Clean Air Act of 1970.  An air pollution episode

occurs when adverse weather conditions, usually low winds and a

temperature inversion, combine with pollutant source emissions

and local topography to produce a noticeable deterioration in the

ambient air quality.  State and local agencies have the prime

responsibility for controlling the episode.  If the local response

is not effective, or if it appears that the air quality presents an

imminent and substantial endangerment" to human health, EPA

can intervene by taking emergency action to control the episode.

The Regional Office of EPA coordinates all Federal activity and

works with local and State personnel in resolution of an episode.

    The seriousness of an episode is a function of the concen-

tration of pollutants in the air.  Episode stages,  in order of

increasing severity, are Alert, Warning,  Emergency, and Sub-

stantial Endangerment.  The specific concentration criteria

defining each stage often vary from state to state.  Allegheny

County,  Pennsylvania, has regulations similar to those sug-

gested by the Federal Government.  Abatement procedures are

designed primarily to prevent pollution from reaching the

Substantial Endangerment level.

    The State and local authority comes from Chapter 137 of the

Pennsylvania State Implementation Plan and the master plan of

Allegheny County's Air Pollution Emergency Episode System.


    At 3:00 a.m. on November 18,  an Alert was declared in the

Hazelwood area of Allegheny County.  That afternoon,  the EPA

Region El Office was  informed by Allegheny County officials that

air pollution was approaching Warning levels in the Pittsburgh

area.  The EPA Regional meteorologist informed other key offices

that a serious episode was developing.  Allegheny County contacted

the meteorologist at 8:30 a.m. the next day, informing him that

the air quality was rapidly deteriorating and that visibility in the

Clairton Valley was so poor that driving was impossible.  It

became apparent that EPA action would be necessary,  so the U. S.

Attorney's office in Pittsburgh was called about implementing

Section 303 of the Clean  Air Act.  Action by the U. S. Attorney

would empower EPA to file suit on behalf of the United States to

restrain immediately all sources from emitting pollutants.  This

action could be taken if the  air quality presented an "imminent

and substantial endangerment" to human health and if appropriate

State and local authorities did not act to abate  such sources.

    At 9:30 a.m., the Regional Administrator  was briefed on the

status of the episode.  Allegheny County then informed EPA the

Clairton area had a 24-hour reading of 6. 9  coefficient of haze

(COH) and the County had asked USS to reduce emissions by

increasing coking time to 27 hours.  The County also had asked

the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (DER)

to order reduction of emissions at power plants in Elrama

(Duquesne Light Co.) and Mitchell (West Penn Power Co.) in

adjacent Washington County.  During a meeting on the morning

of November 19, the EPA staff concluded that abatement pro-

cedures should be increased by having USS change to a 48-hour

coking cycle by midnight.

   Anticipating the need for legal action, the EPA mobilized the

Emergency Operation Control Center team. Part of the team

went to Pittsburgh,  and another team remained at the Regional

Office on 24-hour call.  Research Triangle Park was called,

and another five-man team was assembled there.

   On the morning  of November 19, EPA advised the County, by

phone, that USS should reduce its coking process to a 48-hour

cycle by midnight, spray leaking oven doors with a sealant,  and

stop  scarfing operations.  (Scarfing, the removal of surface

defects on the initial steel product by the use of a torch, causes

the emission of particulates.)  However, during this conversation,

County officials stated that they did not believe USS could achieve

such a coking cycle within the proposed time period.  Clairton

also  had to switch to gas firing for all boilers.  (Alert plans allow

for two boilers to remain on coal.)

    During the afternoon of November 19, Regional personnel in

Philadelphia attempted to convince USS to change to a 48-hour

coking cycle and also discussed the possibility of cutbacks of

other processes.

    At 4:00 p.m.,  the EPA Regional team arrived at the U. S.

Attorney's office and learned that the Regional Administrator

would arrive in the Pittsburgh area to coordinate EPA emergency

actions.  The Region also supplied the Pittsburgh EPA team with

a list of sources to consider for reductions if the episode continued.

DER personnel informed EPA on the status of Elrama and Mitchell

Power Stations, Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel, and J&L Steel, as

well as the latest pollutant readings.  EPA then briefed the U. S.

Attorney, who informed USS about the possibility of a Section 303


    As the RTP team flew into Pittsburgh,  it noticed a significant

reduction in visibility from the yellow-brown and grey-brown

cloudiness in the air above Clairton.  The  air over the rest of

the area was clear,  however.   While driving from Pittsburgh

through the Clairton area and eventually farther south,  a  member

of the Region El team noticed the same pattern observed by the

RTP personnel from the air.  Thus, during this air episode,

pollutant concentrations were not uniform throughout the County.

Clairton area readings, for example, were two to three times

higher than EPA Region El found that Duquesne's Elrama Station

was operating at 18% of load and that USS had extended its coking


time to 38 hours.  By 6:00 p.m.,  20 out of 21 boilers had been

switched from coal to gas or else  shut down; Mitchell Power

Plant was operating at 85% capacity and in full compliance with

the State Implementation Plan.  The J&L Steel Plant in the

Hazelwood area had gone to a 24-hour coking time and had

ceased all other operations,  and all other Monongahela Valley

sources had curtailed operations by 15 to 25%.

    At 7:00 p. m.,  RTP  Region m  personnel were informed that

a Federal judge was standing by and ready to institute  Section

303 proceedings.  RTP  personnel  were advised that scientific

experts should be prepared to make statements similar to those

made in the Birmingham, Alabama, case of U.S. vs. USS et al.

of November 18, 1971.

    The Regional Administrator met with DER, representatives of

a vice president of USS, two other USS representatives, and the

U.S. Attorney's office to discuss further abatement procedures.

Discussion focused on the rate of extending the coking  time at

Clairton Works.  EPA insisted that by the end  of the 4:00 p.m.

to midnight shift, the coking  cycle should be 48 hours.  USS in-

sisted the plant was already at 38  to 42 hours before 8:00 a.m.

and the limiting factors were damage to the oven brick work and

safety of the coke oven gas pipeline.

    At 11:30 p.m.,  one  EPA  team, driving from downtown

Pittsburgh to Clairton,  noted that  the high air pollution was the

result of a plume-like dispersion that was distributed unevenly.


In some deep valleys,  the air quality was particularly poor,

while at other areas it was not as bad.  Visibility was about 1/4

mile at the Clairton automatic monitoring station.  At the

monitoring station located at South Allegheny High School, the

COH values had been so high, greater than  10. 51,  that a backup

instrument was required to make the reading.  The EPA team

advised the Regional Office of those observations and reported

that the power plants south of Clairton had little  effect on the

Clairton air quality.

    In Pittsburgh, the Regional Administrator was investigating

the Elrama situation.  At 1:00 a.m. on November  20, the Regional

Administrator asked for a telegram stating why Duquesne Light

had not cut back on the operation of boiler #3,  which had pollution

control equipment that did not comply with regulations.   Even at

the low power rating of 30 megawatts, the boiler was emitting 500

pounds of particulate an hour.  Duquesne responded that it could

mean the  loss of system reliability.  At 1:30 a.m., EPA began

to prepare the pleadings for a suit against Duquesne if more

cutbacks were needed.  Throughout the night, there was frequent

communication between the Pittsburgh group and the episode unit

at the Regional Office.

    At 2:00 p.m., following termination of the ASA,  the episode

shifted from Emergency to Alert status.  EPA began a study of

the health effects of the episode.  During the afternoon,  the  EPA

Regional personnel left. At 10:00 p.m.  on  November 20, all


alerts were terminated, and at midnight of the following day,

USS resumed its normal coking cycle.


   At 9:00 p.m. on November 16, an air Alert was declared for

the Liberty Borough-Clairton  area of Allegheny County.  As a

result of the Alert, the Allegheny County Health Department

ordered the Clairton Coke Works,  the largest coke oven complex

in the world and a  major source of particulates in the area,  to

begin plans to abate its emissions.  The coking time was extended

from the normal 18-hour to a  20-hour cycle.  At midnight of the

same day,  USS was ordered to extend its coking cycle to 24 hours

because air quality was deteriorating rapidly. Hourly readings

for fine.particulate measurement increased from  7. 03 COH to a

high of 9. 93 COH.

   The first ASA for western Pennsylvania was declared at noon

on November 17.   From 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  on November 17,

the Allegheny County Health Department inspected the coke works

to confirm that the 24-hour coking cycle was being used. At 10:00

p.m., Alerts were declared in downtown Pittsburgh  and North


   At 1:00 a.m. on November 19, air quality had deteriorated to

such a  degree that the COH readings were off the  scale of the in-

strument, which was calibrated for a maximum reading of 10. 51.

Around  2:00 a.m., USS voluntarily switched #2 boiler to 95% gas

and shut down its ammonia plant to make clean fuel available.


   At 3:00 a.m. of the same morning, Allegheny County notified

Region HI that the Alert I level had been reached and that appro-

priate Warning level abatement procedures had been put into

effect, including a 28-hour coking cycle at USS and cessation of

rolling mill operations.

   At 2:30 p.m., the County Commissioners held a press con-

ference to inform the public that the  Emergency level had been

reached at Liberty Borough.

   At 9:30 p.m., Allegheny County  agreed to recontact the

sources to ensure that cutback procedures had been implemented.

Also, two County inspectors were sent to  the Clairton Coke  Works.

   During November 19  and 20, County inspectors monitored USS

closely.  On November 19 between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., they

noted that operation of the ovens was resulting in dense clouds

of smoke and was reducing the effect of extending the coking cycle.

USS personnel accompanying the inspectors also noticed this situ-

ation so the company did not have to  be notified formally. Prom

12:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.  on November 20, the 48-hour cycle was

being used. The inspectors again monitored the plant from  noon

to 4:00 p.m.,  by which time USS had been allowed to shorten the

coking cycle to 42 hours.  Because of fog  the works were moni-

tored for only 4 hours.  It appeared  that the cycle  was slightly

shorter than 42 hours, but the weather conditions made accurate

readings difficult.

    At 9:00 a.m.,  the County, in violation of established procedures

for termination of the Emergency stage and without consulting EPA,

permitted USS to reduce its coking cycle and increase emissions.

    At 10:30 a.m., Allegheny County, DER,  and EPA held a press

conference to announce that the emergency would possibly be lifted

that day because the 24-hour average COH readings had gone below

the emergency level at 4:00 a.m.


    In general,  private groups responded well when their  cooperation

was requested.  Their actions are detailed in earlier sections of

this report.


    Resource estimates were difficult to obtain 21/2 years  after

the episode. The only estimate was from EPA's Region El,  which

listed 10 man-days, $2200 in labor costs, and $500 for travel.


    Under the circumstances, the agencies involved in this episode

generally responded in an appropriate manner.  Nonetheless,  some

problems were encountered. There  were technical problems in-

volving monitoring systems, problems related to local and Federal

agency procedures, and problems of gathering evidence for legal

proceedings before, during, and after the episode.  A number of

actions could be taken to increase the speed and effectiveness of

responses to future episodes:


o  State and local agencies should develop adequate

   individual source curtailment plans and incorporate

   them into  a master plan.  Allegheny County was unable

   to respond adequately to an episode of this severity

   because of inadequate source curtailment plans. USS

   is the major air pollution source in the Monongahela

   Valley,  yet no approved curtailment plans for portions

   of its  facilities were on file with the County for various

   stages of air pollution episodes.  This required meetings

   and discussions to increase curtailment efforts during

   the  episode, delayed the reduction in USS emissions,

   and diverted personnel from  other duties.  Curtailment

   plans  should contain specific mandated reductions at

   each stage of an episode that comply with the require-

   ments of the approved implementation plan.

o  Local officials should implement the requirements of

   the  episode regulations  applicable to termination of

   the  emergency stage.  The 1975 episode was the first

   in Allegheny County that reached the emergency stage

   since  the adoption of the regulations defining the several

   stages of an episode and establishing the criteria for

   initiation and termination of each stage.  County officials

   did  not properly implement the termination procedures.

   First, the County allowed USS to decrease its coking

   time from 48 to 42 hours on the morning of November 20,


   before there were sufficient findings to warrant

   termination of the Emergency.  The two requirements

   to terminate the Emergency stage of an episode are:

   1) the ambient air readings must be below the Emergency

   stage values for the time period specified in the regu-

   lations and 2) an official weather forecast must be

   received that indicates improved dispersion conditions

   are expected in the next 24 hours.  Early in the afternoon

   of November 20,  the County was about to terminate the

   Emergency stage of the episode without the official fore-


o  EPA should conduct followup studies to aid in developing

   source curtailment capabilities.  The studies should

   determine:  1) the impact on emissions of the curtail-

   ment measures taken at the Clairton Coke Works and

   examine the possibility of further and more expeditious

   reductions in emissions, 2) the validity of Duquesne

   Light's contention that it could not shut down boiler #3

   at the Elrama Station because of system reliability, and

   3) how emissions should be reduced in future episodes.

o  Special provisions should be made for closing of all

   schools in the  affected area when Emergency levels are

   reached or are predicted.  The South Allegheny High

   School is located in a valley often affected by the plume

   from the Clairton Coke Works.  This school was in the


      area worst hit by the episode, yet the only curtailment

      of school activities occurred because people could not

      see well enough to get to school.  Consequently, the

      school opened one hour  late.

    o  EPA should develop a procedure to monitor total

      suspended particulate with the speed of response of

      the tape  sampler.  Allegheny County uses the tape

      sampler system during  an episode because it produces

      hourly results.  However, there is no simple way to

      relate tape results to readings from the high-volume

      sampler. The high-volume sampler provides reliable

      results,  but it takes up  to 24 hours to collect an air

      sample and additional time to process and analyze

      the data.

    o  The local agency should report high-volume sampler

      readings acquired during  an episode in order to

      assure accurate annual  data.  The Allegheny County

      Board of Health did not  report 24-hour high volume

      sampler data during the episode because the filters

      became clogged before  24 hours had elapsed.  Data

      from shorter-term filter  runs should be used to

      derive 24-hour data, and  they should be reported to

      avoid downward bias in  annual data.

    In Region HI, the general area around Pittsburgh is the most

prone to air episodes.  The reasons are obvious.  This area contains


the greatest concentration of heavy industry operating from very

old facilities with inadequate pollution control.  The steel industry,

in particular, is operating in substantial noncompliance with State

and local regulations and is  strongly resisting attempts to bring it

into compliance.  This situation exacerbates the severity of poor

air quality during periods of air stagnation.

    It is  not unusual to observe measured particulate values in

the area twice the primary ambient standard. Hence, episode

planning and implementation are vital to air quality management

in Allegheny County.

    Unquestionably, full compliance of the major sources would

have reduced  the severity of the November 1975 episode, although

actions taken  by the control  agency officials did substantially miti-

gate the  effects.