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Calumet Montana is conducting a river spill response drill

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Posted at 4:20 PM, Jun 25, 2024

GREAT FALLS — On June 25th, Calumet Refining, in collaboration with Rapid Response Systems and the Great Falls Fire Department, commenced an oil spill response exercise on the Missouri River near Rainbow Dam.

Calumet conducts spill-response training on river

"Radios and communication can help speed up the response time," stated one worker during the exercise.

Joe Dauner, Environmental Manager at Calumet, explained the purpose of the drill: "This is a spill response training drill where we deploy boom and recovery equipment in case of a material spill on the Missouri River. Our team is an all-volunteer response unit comprising our union, staff, and employees, aimed at mitigating the impacts of any incident."

Dauner emphasized that this is merely a drill and that there is no actual spill: "For the community of Great Falls, we're practicing to ensure we are capable of deploying booms to contain material on the river and then using recovery equipment to remove it from the environment. This week is our oil spill drill, so there is no material or release in the environment. We're just practicing our response capabilities."

Safety is a primary concern during such operations.

Dauner noted, "The majority of the team is from Calumet, but we also have our local area co-op participating. Several employees from other businesses are here, and the City of Great Falls Fire Department supports the on-water operations with a second boat for emergency rescue if needed. Health and safety are paramount in this exercise."

The drill, which began on June 25th, will continue through June 26th.

Dauner added, "Calumet leads this response team, collaborating with the City of Great Falls Fire and Hazmat teams when required. Should any entity or incident result in a release into the river, we are probably the best-equipped group in the area, and we are proud of that."

How to Report Oil Spills in Montana: If you observe an oil spill or any hazardous material release, it's crucial to report it immediately to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). You can contact them at their 24-hour emergency hotline at 406-444-0379.

Additionally, you can report spills to the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802. For more details and guidance on reporting spills, visit the Montana DEQ website here: