In the fall of 2015, the Coast Guard's Atlantic Strike Team (AST) was requested by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 to provide response operations at two abandoned chemical plating factories in Michigan. Starting in October 2015, the AST provided three months of air monitoring and chemical pumping operation support at the Michner Chemical Plating Factory in Jackson, Michigan. Shortly after operations began at Michner, EPA Region 5 requested additional AST support with hazardous material categorization and contractor monitoring at the Hard Chrome Plating facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Both abandoned chemical facilities were in close proximity to schools, residential neighborhoods, and community spaces. Each facility contained highly toxic chemicals including hydrochloric acid, hydrogen cyanide, and chromic acid. At each location, AST responders used flexibility and technical knowledge to address emergent issues and long term response strategies. This paper explores many of the challenges faced by the EPA and the Atlantic Strike Team including accurate chemical categorization, determination of appropriate personal protective equipment for responders, and communication issues. This examination reinforces the need for a close working relationship between the EPA and Coast Guard during both coastal and inland incident responses as well as providing recommendations for considerations to be made during future chemical clean-up responses.
Building Federal Partnerships to Harness Long-Term Success: A Case Study from the Joint EPA and USCG Response to Michigan Chemical Factories
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LTJG Kathleen Dillon; Building Federal Partnerships to Harness Long-Term Success: A Case Study from the Joint EPA and USCG Response to Michigan Chemical Factories. International Oil Spill Conference Proceedings 1 May 2017; 2017 (1): 2017075. doi: https://doi.org/10.7901/2169-3358-2017.1.000075
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