Region 5 has been divided into two operational areas, inland and coastal, which correspond to the areas in which EPA and USCG are responsible for providing OSCs. The coastal operational area consists of the open waters of the Great Lakes, including Lake St. Clair, the interconnecting rivers, major bays, ports and harbors of the Region 5 States, and the land surface, land substrata, ground water and ambient air proximal to those waters. The inland operational area includes all other land territory of the six States of Region 5, including each State’s inland lakes and rivers. Numerous Native American community reservations and treaty rights areas are also delineated within Region 5.
Two Coast Guard Districts share Federal Region 5. The Ninth Coast Guard District, headquartered in Cleveland, serves the Great Lakes drainage basin. The Eighth Coast Guard District, headquartered in New Orleans, serves the drainage basins of the upper Mississippi and the Ohio Rivers. The boundary between USCG District 8 and USCG District 9 is at River Mile 187.3 on the Illinois River.
Within the Great Lakes coastal zone, the appropriate Captain of the Port (COTP) functions as the predesignated OSC for all oil and hazardous substance releases, subject to a DOT/EPA redelegation of certain CERCLA response authorities. EPA performs the following two categories of response actions within the coastal zone: 1) remedial actions for releases originating from facilities, and 2) all response actions for releases originating from hazardous waste management facilities.
The scope of the Eighth Coast Guard District response role is defined by a revised Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the District and EPA Region 5, signed by the Rear Admiral and Regional Administrator on March 15, 2017. The revised MOU assigns EPA as the predesignated OSC for the entire inland zone, including the inland river system within the Eighth Coast Guard District, for responding to all discharges of oil and hazardous substances. The USCG responds to spills from commercial vessels only.
DOD or DOE provides OSCs for all response actions for releases of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants which originate on any facility or vessel under the jurisdiction, custody or control of DOD or DOE. In the case of a Federal agency other than US EPA, USCG, DOD or DOE, such agency shall provide OSCs for removal actions necessitated by releases originating on any facility or vessel under its jurisdiction that are not emergencies.
EPA or USCG OSCs may be requested to provide technical assistance to the lead agency OSC who is responding to the release or threatened release. In the event of an emergency on Federal agency property other than DOD or DOE, EPA or USCG retains response authority and EPA OSCs may respond and later initiate cost recovery actions against the potential responsible party.
Definitions of the boundaries of OSC jurisdictions for Region 5 are provided in the following subsections. Where highways are used to delineate the boundary, the roadbed right-of-ways of the highway are included in the inland (US EPA) zone.