Is it possible that the spill will reach surface waters, wetlands, groundwater, streams, ditches, sewers, or
Does the reporting activity have the capability to contain or clean up the spill?
Is the spilled substance classified with an Required Quantity (RQ) value?
Not only is the appropriate equipment important when handling a spill, but it is also important to have
properly trained personnel. The supervisor's duty is to verify that personnel conducting an operation are
trained in the proper use of spill cleanup and containment equipment. Those handling the spill must also
employ the proper procedures IAW the ISCP and SPCC.
Once the spill has occurred and been taken care of, it must be reported. The petroleum or other
hazardous spill must be reported immediately via the chain-of-command and cleaned up immediately after
personal safety precautions have been taken and notification to people in the area has been made IAW the
ISCP, the SPCC, and unit SOP.
Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan. The purpose of the Spill Prevention
Control and Countermeasures Plan (SPCC) is to identify potential sources of oil and hazardous substances
and the measures required to prevent and contain any accidental discharge resulting from equipment or
storage facility failure. At a minimum the SPCC must contain a detailed description of oil spill prevention,
control, and countermeasures. This includes structures and equipment for diversion and containment of
discharges, facility drainage, and identification of resources to clean up spills, a description of spills which
have occurred in the last 12 months with corrective action taken and plan recurrence, and an inventory list of
storage, handling, and transfer facilities which present oil spill hazards. Include prediction of direction of flow,
rate of flow, and total quantity which could be discharged.
Containment of Spills. It is important to contain spills in order to prevent oil dispersement, lessen the
degree of pollution, and ease the problem of cleanup. In a situation where there is a spill-related fire,
containment prevents a larger fire hazard and contains the existing fire.
Water spills present a unique set of environmental factors which affect how such spills are handled.
Strong wind or current creates headwaves which may go over or under a single boom. However, large
waves at sea will aid in breaking up the spill. Low temperatures and atmospheric conditions such as snow,
fog, and sleet cause oil to be more viscous, and therefore dispersants work more slowly.
Containment of spills in water is typically done with the aid of booms. The booms should be positioned
downwind or down current. In a situation where there are large headwaves, use more than one boom. In
addition, you can use fire hoses, propeller wash, wind jet, or piston film to control a water spill.
Containment of land spills requires you to consider several factors. Elevation of storage site, direction
spill would flow, and the proximity to water sources need to be evaluated before a containment method is
employed. Depending on the situation, berms made of sandbags, piles of dirt, straw, cloth, fiber, or wood
chips and dikes, ditches or natural barriers may be used to contain a spill. In addition, alarms and automatic
shutoff devices, drip pans, and slop tanks can be used to prevent ground contamination.
Spill Cleanup Methods. Spill cleanup in water is accomplished with the use of sorbents (adsorption
and absorption) such as rolls, sweeps, pads, particulate, oil snares, bags, and booms. Depending on the
situation, weir, belt, or drum oil/water skimmers may also be employed to remove the oil.
Spill cleanup on land is performed in different ways depending on the size and nature of the spill.
Sorbents are used on small spills, while large spills would require the use of mechanical equipment such as
scrappers, graders, or bulldozers. In some instances, plowing and tilling of the soil is all that is required.
Pumps may also be utilized to remove oil from some areas and wash it into retrieval areas.
Beaches are extremely sensitive to oil spills; oil will penetrate two inches and, if chemically treated, will
penetrate two to five times deeper. Federal studies indicate chemicals can cause more harm than the spill
itself. EPA approval is needed to use chemical cleanup methods such as dispersants, biological agents such
as oil-eating bacteria/enzymes, sinking agents, gelling agents, and burning agents. Chemical agents can be
used with government approval under two conditions:
Danger of fire exists which could be harmful to lives.
When a spill is traveling in the direction of fish or wildlife-sensitive areas.
PART G - RESOURCES AND PROCEDURES FOR PROPER DISPOSAL AND
HANDLING OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS