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April 25, 2014
A month after a devastating landslide tore apart the community of Oso, hazmat and conservation corps teams working on site from the Department of Ecology transitioned duties to the local jurisdiction in Snohomish County and departed from the response.
The onsite Spills Response team demobilized Wednesday, April 23, after removing remaining hazardous materials and breaking down staging areas. In total, they collected over 400 items of hazards material during their deployment:
(63) 5-gallon propane tanks
(24) 8-50-gallon propane tanks
(14) 120-gallon propane tanks
(2) 250-gallon propane tank
(1) 500 gallon propane tank
(6) Oxygen cylinders
(3) Acetylene tank
(2) 5-gallon helium tank
(3) Small carbon dioxide tank
(226) Hazardous liquid containers, primarily gasoline, motor oils, paints, and household pesticide containers
(13) pole and pad mounted transformers
(50) Small flammable gas containers, propane and butane.
“It was a long, yet incredible month for our responders,” said Dave Byers, response supervisor. “I know there were some tough, emotional times for our teams, but they stood tall and showed up to work day after day while tragic discoveries happened all around them.”
Ecology’s Spills staff helped the response organization develop and implement systems to manage hazardous materials and to provide protection to search crews against chemical and biological hazards.
This included safe staging areas to store hazardous materials prior to shipment for disposal. Each search team had a hazardous materials specialist, usually from a fire department, with training to characterize potentially hazardous items or materials as encountered in the field.
The spills program provided staff expertise to the response organization’s hazmat, environment and health group that provided planning and guidance on these issues.
Ecology’s Washington Conservation Corps grew from one 6-person crew to nine crews (54 AmeriCorps members and staff) on scene at the peak of the search and rescue operations. In total, 83 AmeriCorps Members and 25 staff provided assistance over the course of one month. Each crew deployed for fourteen 16-hour days for a combined total of over 18,500 hours served.
“As this response evolved, so did the roles of our crews — from shoring up logistical infrastructure to providing ground support to responders in the field, our crews tackled each new project with a strong sense of duty and pride,” said Bridget Mason, WCC coordinator.
Although no longer stationed on site, Ecology will continue to provide advice and counsel as needed.
To continue following coverage of this event, visit the Snohomish County’s site.
April 18, 2014
Seven WCC crews continue supporting logistics in Arlington, Oso, and Darrington this week. A new crew is now on scene to replace Darrington Spike Camp crew that will be rotating out on Sunday. Two WCC Crew Supervisors are now acting as Base Camp Manager trainees.
In the field, a WCC crew worked with the National Guard to install an estimated 50 feet of difficult piping to connect to a pump for draining water on the east side of the debris field. This will help in continued recovery operations.
Back at Incident Command and the Darrington Spike Camp, remaining crews continue to support logistics, food, and ground support.
Showing their concern for conservation, crews designed a recycling system at the Arlington ICP. This system ensures that aluminum, glass, plastic, batteries, and food scraps are being diverted from the landfill. The goal of this project is a “no waste” bin system.
Two AmeriCorps members accompanied Incident Command staff in presenting to local students, answering questions about the landslide. As a result of this and community outreach at surrounding schools, nearly 800 thank you cards, letters and drawings have been received at Incident Command. WCC crews added these cards to sack lunches that they distributed to responders. The morale around camp was noticeably improved.
Four Spills Program personnel worked this week as well, providing technical assistance and oversight on assessment and recovery hazardous materials.
The crew from Northwest Region Spills Response that has provided onsite assistance since the event happened Mar. 22, was relieved this week by a crew from Ecology's Southwest Region that operates out of Olympia.
The cross-regional assistance provides an opportunity for the Northwest Team to focus on other responsibilities, plus responders outside the area gain experience working at the site.
To date the team has contained and/or staged 312 hazmat items.
April 10, 2014
Ecology has nine WCC crews supporting the incident. Four Spills
Program hazmat specialists are collecting and identifying
hazardous materials, and coordinating with local agencies for
disposal. So far this week six transformers have been collected
along with several other hazmats.
April 6, 2014
Over the weekend Ecology crews built a new staging area on the west side of the site and continued collecting and staging hazardous materials. Transformers, large propane tanks and other materials are scheduled for removal Monday.
April 3, 2014
Ecology WCC crews continued their work today within logistics, ordering, ground support, Oso Camp, Darrington Camp, and facilities. A new assignment includes work on the “drainage crew.”
Two of our experienced sawyers led a WCC crew to an area at the edge of the debris field that is inundated with water. Members of the WCC crew, along with volunteers from Tacoma Mountain Rescue, spent the day clearing a drainage channel to accommodate the incoming rain predicted this weekend. The goal is to dewater this area to facilitate further recovery operations. The Darrington WCC spike camp crew is preparing for an influx of an estimated 200 people this weekend.
OSHA and LNI were on scene reviewing and making technical assistance (non-enforcement regulatory assistance) recommendations to the overall incident health and safety plan. Their input was favorable to the work Ecology’s been performing. Propane companies were also on site today, offering their assistance removing tanks from the debris area.
The King County Sheriff’s office donated five pallets of personal protective suits to the incident. The suits were designed to be protective against chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) agents. Although the suits are likely more protection than needed, the sheriff’s office recommended use at a minimum, for raingear or protection against the potential biohazards present. Everyone on scene is grateful and the suits are needed and being used.
An improved temporary waste staging area in Arlington is currently under evaluation and may provide more secure storage from the elements as it is under cover.
At the end of the day, Ecology field operations removed the following hazardous materials from the site for appropriate disposal:
(31) 5-gallon propane tanks
April 2, 2014, NoonSpills Team
Ecology has helped establish a Hazmat/Environmental Group to plan and coordinate efforts on these subjects. Ecology will be part of this group, joined by the state dept. of Labor and Industries, the Washington National Guard, the EPA, FEMA and the Snohomish County Health District.
Environmental hazards in the slide area reflect the types of materials typically found in rural neighborhoods. We expect search teams to encounter isolated pockets of hazardous items or substances, as in any disaster in a similar neighborhood.
These likely would include tanks (propane, oxygen, acetylene), fuels from vehicles, transformers, household hazardous materials (such as cleaning agents, battery acid, etc.), and biological waste from septic systems.
Search teams have recovered a few dozen five-gallon propane containers, a few welding tanks and some other household hazardous waste containers. Ecology helped lay out staging areas to stockpile hazardous materials until they can be transported for disposal.
Today Ecology is assisting two four-member hazmat teams, one each at the east and west entrances to the slide area. . Various fire departments are providing hazmat specialists for these teams on a rotating basis. Today’s teams come from the Boeing and Marysville fire departments.
They are coordinating the loading and transport of the hazardous materials recovered so far for disposal, in cooperation with Snohomish County. The teams are on call to assist when slide area work crews encounter hazardous or potentially hazardous materials.
Many of the homes in the neighborhood had 150-250 gallon propane tanks, and there is one 500 gallon tank known in the area.
At present, while the search focuses on locating slide victims, smaller hazardous materials are collected as encountered by the searchers, while larger items are marked. Further efforts to remove hazardous materials will take place at a later stage of the recovery effort.
Ecology has 48 staff assigned to the response today, 43 from WCC and five from Spills.
AmeriCorps Crews with the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) have been deployed since March 25th. In total, seven crews are providing logistical and ground support to responders in the field. Each crew is serving a 14-day rotation. Crews are distributed in Arlington, Oso, and Darrington, assisting in Incident Command operations and acting as camp crew support - earning praise from other response organization members. After establishing two tent camps for out-of-town responders, WCC crews in Arlington and Darrington have taken on sanitization of food service facilities, coordination of food distribution, and transport of laundry and garbage. WCC members have been processing inventory, inputting supply orders, organizing response equipment, and delivering supplies to the front lines. The crews have built railed accessibility ramps for the kitchen and shower stations. The crews’ experience with small power equipment has also come in handy. Several members got a troublesome generator back into working order, and have been tasked with keeping the generators fueled and serviced.
WCC members from forestry crews wielded chain saws yesterday to help the Washington State Department of Transportation. WSDOT needed to cut and remove downed trees on slopes above State Route 530 to clear sites for equipment to detect possible earth movement.
Despite long hours, unglamorous work, and an emotionally charged atmosphere, the WCC crews have stayed positive and willing to help with whatever is asked of them.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Ecology is continuing the same assignments today as yesterday, with 51 Ecology staff on-scene.
Monday, March 31, 2014
About 50 Ecology employees are assisting in the response today.
Friday, March 28, 2014
WCC assists as the command post moves from city hall to the
school building. Other activities include waste disposal,
generator operation, food distribution, and supply delivery. WCC
also helps transport staff, supplies and equipment to and from
the slide location.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
WCC provides two more crews, from Bellingham and
Ellensburg. WCC delivers supplies and equipment to the front lines and continues
to prepare for the command post move.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
A Washington Conservation Corps crew of five AmeriCorps
members and a supervisor are assigned to assist in moving the incident command
post from Arlington’s city hall to vacant space in the former junior high
Date of Incident:
All other information about the SR 530 slide can be found on the Snohomish County website.
You can also check out Ecology's WCC Facebook page.
Check out WDFW's (April 24) Slide Factsheet for fish facts.
Read the UPDATED (April 22) Environmental and Public Health Fact Sheet.
News release: April 4, 2014: SR 530 Environmental and Public Health Issues
Ecology North Fork Stillaguamish River Information
Copyright © Washington State Department of Ecology. See http://www.ecy.wa.gov/copyright.htm