What is the Mississippi River Spill Response Cooperative?

Wakota CAER recognizes most companies that store or transport oil or hazardous material are prepared to respond to typical spills that they have. However no Minnesota facility is equipped to manage a catastrophic oil spill that reaches the river. To prepare for potential river spills, some of our members banded together to form the Mississippi River Spill Response Cooperative. The cooperative facilitates mutual aid assistance between members during response to oil spills on the Mississippi River, Minnesota River, and St. Croix River in the Twin Cities Metro Area.

Pooling resources makes response to spilled oil quicker and more effective than otherwise possible. According to Steve Lee, Supervisor of Emergency Response at Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, "Companies have talked for years about the almost impossible challenge of maintaining preparedness for major oil spills. An obvious, though very difficult, solution is working together and sharing equipment, staff, and training."

Equipment Caches

Members have access to ten (10) equipment caches that contain thousands of feet of oil spill containment boom. Cooperative members can use the equipment for actual response and for training. These jointly owned caches of equipment are unique in Minnesota.

Nine of the equipment caches are strategically located along the Mississippi River between St. Paul, Minnesota and Prescott, Wisconsin. (Cache Map 2013) Another cache is located on the St. Croix river at Kinnickinnic State Park for a total of ten boom caches. Shoreline foliage camouflages the dry freight containers that can be accessed from land or by water.

Requesting Mutual Aid

Participating organizations can request mutual aid assistance from other participating organizations by contacting the State Duty Officer (SDO). The SDO will notify the appropriate organizations with information about the release. Partner organizations in the cooperative have agreed to assist to the extent that they are able.

The requesting organization must provide the SDO with the following information:

MN State Duty Officer actions:

RSRC Participating Organizations

Financial Responsibility

Any expenses accrued for the response to an incident are the responsibility of the requesting organization. This includes: transporting an equipment cache, cleaning and/or replacing equipment, and/or other costs associated with any assistance provided.

Joining the Cooperative

To become a member of the Mississippi River Spill Response Cooperative, you must join Wakota CAER. Those interested in joining Wakota CAER and participating in the cooperative can contact Wakota CAER at 651-458-0645.

How the Cooperative got started

In 1971 aviation fuel poured into the Mississippi River from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Airport responders enlisted the aid of downriver industries, and the first river response cooperative was born. The "Miss-ota Croix Cooperative" shared ideas about spill preparedness and stocked spill response equipment in a trailer near the river. As time passed without any more huge spills, the group eventually withered away.

In 2001 Wakota CAER formed a sub-committee to resurrect the old Miss-ota Croix cooperative for the portion of the Mississippi River that flows from St. Paul Lock and Dam One to Hastings Lock and Dam Two. The cooperative worked with river planning group UMRBA to create maps, determine sensitive areas and devise strategies to protect those sensitive areas. From there, the cooperative began purchasing equipment, training responders and coordinating drills.

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