Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Local News

December 28, 2012

Hazmat response team dominates EMC discussion

Knoxville — Details as to the pay, structure and agreement with Jasper County in the formation of a hazardous material response team dominated the discussion at Thursday's Marion County Emergency Management Commission meeting. 

The 11-member commission, which includes all nine mayors in the county (or their selected proxy), plus a representative from the Marion County Board of Supervisors and the sheriff, still has research to do before its next scheduled meeting on Jan. 29. Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Anderson presented draft 28E agreements for the commission to sign with Jasper County, as well as pay proposals, a proposed structure for the team and individuals who have volunteered to join. 

For several years, Marion County has had an agreement with the City of Des Moines to provide hazardous material response, in the event of a spill or another disaster that required cleanup. This agreement has become cost prohibitive, as it would cost Marion County $50,000 a year to continue the agreement. Anderson and EMC Chair Ron Goemaat researched possible agreements with other nearby agencies that could provide the same service. None of these were cost-effective. For instance, the City of Ottumwa would charge $1 per capita for 10 years, which would cost roughly $34,000 annually just for the agreement. 

Jasper County has equipment to provide support to Marion County at minimal cost. The Marion County team is being formed to train to have the ability to respond first, then determine whether or not greater assistance from Jasper County would be necessary in a given emergency. 

Anderson's proposal for the team - which has not been finalized or adopted by the commission - would divide Marion County into three sectors, each with its own team leader. The sections would be west, central and east. This is to help provide a faster response and, if a situation does not warrant calling all team members, take less manpower. 

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