Hazardous Substance Emergency Events Surveillance 1999

During the years 1998 and 1999, a total of 731 events occurred in Minnesota, resulting in 88 evacuations and 128 injured people. For the nine urban counties (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey, St. Louis, Scott and Washington), there were 355 events, 375 chemicals released, 82 victims, and 56 evacuations. For the 78 primarily agricultural counties, there were 376 events, 442 chemicals released, 46 victims, and 32 evacuations. The table below provides the number hazardous material releases in State of Minnesota County and the average number of events, injuries, evacuations, and chemicals released per event for urban counties and primarily agricultural counties.


The HSEES program collects data on acute, emergency hazardous material releases. The program does not include petroleum products such as diesel fuel or propane, nor does the program include releases permitted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Chronic releases, such as a several-month leak from an acid holding tank, are also excluded from the program.


The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) receives reports of hazardous material releases from several sources, including the Minnesota Duty Officer, the United States Coast Guard's National Response Center, and other state agencies. Upon receipt of this initial report, the MDH calls the responsible party and obtains information to complete an extensive questionnaire. Information gathered includes the number of people who were evacuated, injured, or decontaminated; the identity of the materials spilled, and how much was spilled. Data on long-term health effects from chemical exposures are not collected. The MDH follow-up procedure has the advantage of providing more complete and accurate information than may have been available at the time of original notification of the release.

HSEES data identify the chemicals that were released, the day of the week on which the release occurred, the time of day at which the release occurred, and list the number of injuries by chemical and the number of evacuations by chemical. Maps can be generated showing the locations of spills with respect to municipalities; rivers and lakes; and roads.


For the purpose of the HSEES program, a person is considered injured if that person develops symptoms within 24 hours of exposure to a hazardous substance. Symptoms range from minor ailments, such as throat irritation, to death. The program does not differentiate between injuries caused directly by exposure to hazardous materials and injuries caused indirectly by the release, such as burns from a fire caused by the hazardous materials.


HSEES data can be used in emergency management planning and training. A region's agricultural and industrial activities determine the types of hazardous material releases which are likely to occur within that region. Thus, regional differences require different strategies for planning and training. Comparisons can be made between a rural county and other rural counties, and between an urban county and other urban counties.


During the years 1998 and 1999, a total of 731 events occurred in Minnesota,resulting in 88 evacuations and 128 injured people. For the nine urban counties there were 375 events, 427 chemicals released, 91 victims, and 61 evacuations. For the 78 primarily agricultural counties, there were 356 events, 390 chemicals released, 37 victims, and 27 evacuations. The table below compares the average number of events, injuries, evacuations, and chemicals released per event in the urban counties with averages from primarily agricultural counties.

Average Hazardous Materials Releases, Injuries, Evacuations, and Chemicals per Event for 1998 and 1999
AREA Events Injuries Evacuations Chemical/Events
Average for 9 Urban Countiesa 41.7b 10.1b 6.8b 1.1b
Average for 78 Agricultural Countiesc 4.6b 0.5b 0.3b 1.1b
Minnesota 731< 128 88 1

aUrban counties: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey, St. Louis, Scott, and Washington Counties
bMean
cCounties other than urban counties


The total number of hazardous material releases, the number of injuries and forced evacuations, and the total number of chemicals released, by county, between January 1, 1998 through December 31, 1999 are indicated in the table above.


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Updated Wednesday, 17-Jul-2013 13:10:49 CDT