The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has some training scheduled to teach emergency personnel how to deal with the containment and clean up of ethanol spills. Rodney Tucker is coordinating that training. He says they’re looking to train first responders, police, and others to train them in the things they need to do when the come upon an ethanol spill. Tucker says handling an ethanol spill is different than gasoline.
Tucker says when you get a spill on water, gasoline stays on top of water, while ethanol mixes more with the water and poses more of a cleanup hazard. To fight a gasoline fire, you need a special alcohol-resistant foam. Tucker says ethanol also requires different methods to clean it up.
Tucker says you can use a containment boom and absorbent pads with gasoline, but you can’t use those with ethanol. Iowa is the number one ethanol producing state, but so far Tucker says ethanol accidents haven’t been a big problem. He says in the whole realm of spills that happen in Iowa, "ethanol is just a small part of it." Tucker says many of the transportation spills are from the fuel tanks on semi trucks that crash.
Tucker says they will begin the ethanol spill training in April. Tucker says they have a website on the DNR’s main website that’s called Transcaer training . The training schedule is: Burlington April 12, Creston April 15, Red Oak April 19,Sioux City April 23, Storm Lake April 26, Ft. Dodge April 29, Waterloo May 3-5, Dubuque May 8 – 10