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EPA Response to Enbridge Spill in Michigan

Data

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Sampling Data

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working with federal, state and local scientists to gather scientific data along the Talmadge Creek, the Kalamazoo River, and Morrow Lake. This data provides information about the potential impacts of the oil spill on the human health and the environment.

Primary responsibility for environmental sampling has shifted to Enbridge which will continue to collect and validate air quality, water and sediment samples in accordance with EPA guidelines and the approved plans. Enbridge's sampling results are now being posted on its website as the data is validated under EPA oversight.

Air quality sampling and monitoring data

EPA is overseeing Enbridge’s sampling and monitoring efforts.  The Agency also collected its own air samples. Samples are collected in the field and sent to accredited laboratories for analysis. 

EPA also conducted air monitoring on a regular basis in areas that could be affected by the spill.  EPA uses air monitoring results mainly as a screening tool to identify locations where additional sampling and investigation may be needed.  Air samples are collected over a period of time in a set location while air monitoring equipment is portable and provides instantaneous readings.  

During the first days of the response action (July 26–27, 2010), EPA had only air monitoring data.  Sampling equipment was brought in during that period, but results were not available until July 28 due to the time needed to collect and analyze the samples. It is important to recognize air monitoring results reflect the highest peak readings observed on the monitoring equipment.  Air monitoring personnel noticed results fluctuated greatly.  At many of the locations, after the peak results were observed, air pollutant levels dropped back to zero.  The air monitoring results are snapshots in time, and the information available for the first several days of the spill indicated overall exposures were much lower than the peak levels observed.  EPA immediately shared this air monitoring information with the Unified Command and public health and safety authorities as it was collected.  Officials used the information to make decisions about evacuations, re-occupation and worker safety.  EPA also used the results to help decide where to conduct more sampling and additional air monitoring.

Water sampling data

EPA's surface water samples collected provide information on oil-related chemicals found in Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River.

Sediment sampling data

EPA's sediment samples collected provide information on oil-related chemicals found in Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River.

Oil sample analysis reports

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Data collection and reporting information

Results are posted to the EPA Enbridge spill response website after data quality checks and review. Any unusual values are identified for verification or invalidation if a measurement, laboratory analysis or other data quality issue is discovered. Time between collection of a sample or monitored data and reporting to the web depends on the contaminant and the analytical process required to measure that substance. The typical time between collection and posting on the web ranges from less than one day to a week.

Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Techniques (SCAT)

The Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Techniques (SCAT) teams for the Kalamazoo River used a five step process to assess shoreline conditions, determine needed cleanup actions, conduct the cleanup, inspect the results, and sign-off on the satisfactory performance.

Division A/B (Source Area/Talmadge Creek) Reports

The Division A/B reports are for the location immediately surrounding the source of the spill and along Talmadge Creek to it's confluence with the Kalamazoo River. The SCAT technique was not used in this area as complete removal of all free oil in these areas had to be performed. These reports cover each 1000-foot segment. After free oil was removed from these areas, MDNRE assumed the responsibility of overseeing the remediation of the affected areas.

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