Environmental Services Program
Environmental Emergency Response
The Environmental Emergency Response Section is the department’s front line of defense against significant and imminent hazardous substance releases, natural or man-made disasters, or homeland security threats that impact public safety and the environment. This section is primarily responsible for fulfilling the department’s duties contained within Revised Missouri Statutes, Chapter 260, sections 260.500 through 550, commonly referred to as the Spill Bill. Responsibilities include responding to address any chemical, petroleum, or other material spilled on to the land, water, or atmosphere that may impact the public health and safety and the environment.
Duty officers monitor the statutorily-mandated Spill Reporting Hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, on a rotating basis. During normal business hours, duty officers staff the Incident Command Center located at the Environmental Services Program in Jefferson City. After normal business hours, the spill reporting hotline is answered from the duty officer’s residence.
In addition to the duty officers, staff are stationed at six different locations throughout Missouri. State On-Scene Coordinators conduct operations out of these locations and are dispatched via the 24-hour Spill Reporting Hotline by a duty officer in Jefferson City. Environmental Emergency Response staff includes hazardous material technicians in Jefferson City, St. Louis, Poplar Bluff, Kansas City, Macon and Springfield who respond when an environmental emergency occurs.
On average, the Environmental Emergency Response section receives more than 1,500 incident calls and responds, on average, to more than 300 hazardous substance emergencies each year. Many of those calls involve tractor trailer accidents. It is not unusual for tractor trailer accidents to include leaking vehicle fuel tanks. Whether responders are called to an incident on the highway or in the country, they stand ready to protect the environment of the state of Missouri.
Environmental Emergency Response Tracking System
Emergency Response uses a database, the Missouri Environmental Emergency Response Tracking System as a repository for information related to all hazardous substance emergencies and releases. Details of each spill or incident are entered into the system by the officer on duty at the time of the spill. The database information can be queried as far back as December 1993 and is available on the internet in a searchable format.
The Environmental Emergency Response section works diligently to develop and advance working relationships with local, state and federal partners. It is extremely important to share our mission and to understand the roles and responsibilities of these various agencies before environmental emergencies occur in their jurisdictions.
It is equally important to educate, inform and interact with the general public, school children and other parties to further their understanding of what their role is in protecting the environment and the mission of Emergency Response. The section reaches many individuals through different events including the Environmental Emergency Response booth at the Missouri State Fair, local emergency planning committee meetings, regional homeland security oversight committee meetings, career fairs, Earth Day events, and other local, regional and statewide exercises and training events.
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