Let’s hope that this is not the approach that people take when it comes to spills associated with oils, acids , solvents, or other potentially hazardous liquids. Spill control and spill prevention is a very important issue that can protect personnel and property. The losses associated with improper control of dangerous materials can be immediate to long term. Proper care and planning is imperative and is a mandated regulation.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) mandates that a Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan (SPCC Plan) must be prepared by all facilities subject to the U.S. EPA’s Oil Pollution Prevention Regulation. This regulation was published in the Federal Register on December 11, 1973 and was promulgated under Section 311(j)(1)(C) of the Clean Water Act. It was amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
A SPCC Plan is to help prevent any discharge of oil or other chemicals into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines. The main focus of the SPCC regulation is prevention as opposed to after-the-fact reactive measures commonly described in Spill Contingency Plans.
Additional information including who is responsible for preparing a SPCC Plan, required components of a SPCC Plan, and updates on the EPA SPCC Ruling along with many other guidance documents can be found at:
Individuals should be familiar with the properties and hazards of the materials with which they work with. In the event of a chemical spill, the individual(s) who caused the spill is responsible for prompt and proper clean-up. Improper clean-up of a chemical spill may result in injury, illness, fire, a release to the environment, or property damage. Planning for chemical spills is essential. Before beginning work with chemicals, one should be sure that the appropriate types and amounts of spill clean-up materials and personal protective equipment (PPE) are immediately available.
Any person working with chemicals should consult the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the specific chemical that he/she could potentially come into contact with and consider response options in case of a spill or release beforehand. Below is a list of considerations for properly preparing for and responding to a spill.
• Review Material Safety Data Sheets or other references for recommended spill clean-up methods and materials, and the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) (e.g., respirators, gloves, Tyvek suits, etc.);
• Acquire sufficient quantities and types of spill control materials to contain any spills than can be reasonably anticipated;
• Acquire recommended PPE and training in its proper use. All companies should provide training for their employees in the proper use of PPE, including respirators, gloves, and eye and face protection.
• Place spill control materials in a readily accessible location, close to the areas where chemicals are used or stored.
Store and protect absorbents in easily accessible spill kits. Spill kits allow workers to quickly respond to an incident to manage potentially dangerous and costly spills. Review the area where your absorbents are needed and determine the largest potential spill for the area. Also determine if the spill kit should be mobile or permanently stationed.
Common Types of Absorbents
Selecting the right absorbent product is critical. This process includes sizing your spill absorbent, types of liquids the absorbent material will pick up and strength and durability. These considerations play an important part in determining the greatest efficiency and best results spill absorbent products will yield to the spill control user.
Universal Absorbents – Universal absorbents are an absorbent solution typically used for all industrial and commercial spill control. They come in different configurations like absorbent mats, pads, pillows, rolls and booms. Universal absorbents are multipurpose that includes handling solvents, water, oil and other types of liquids. This helps in cleaning floors and the prevention of falling or slipping.
Oil Absorbents – Oil absorbents are “hydrophobic”, meaning they repel water and are specifically for oil cleanup only. They are able to absorb the oil without absorbing the water, making them perfect for oil cleanup and containment on or near large bodies of water. They’re available in different configurations like absorbent socks, sweeps, pads, booms, rolls and drip pans.
Absorbent Pillows and Pads – A pillow is a fabric bag filled with absorbent material, used for rapid absorption of high volumes of liquid in a limited area. A pad is a sheet of absorbent material used to control low-volume spills and help to prevent physical hazards and protect surfaces from damaging liquid materials.
Absorbent Socks – Absorbent socks can be used for a variety of solvents as well as for cleaning up spills on outdoor equipment and machine bases. Oil socks are used to absorb oil and to wrap machines to prevent spilling on the floor. Corn cob, cellulose, vermiculite and polypropylene are some examples of common fillers for these socks.
Loose Absorbents – Commonly used absorbents come in the form of a granular material that’s poured on the spill’s surface. These floor sweeps can absorb a variety of spills including oil, coolants and other solvents. They have uses in many areas including factories, hospitals, schools, office buildings, gas stations, warehouses and restaurants.
Booms and Skimmers – Booms and skimmers are ideal for sweeping oil from streams, ponds and other bodies of water to keep them from harming the environment. They keep waterways clean of petroleum-based liquids and other contaminants. Oil sweeps and oil skimmers come in the form of sump socks and pillows and oil containment booms which can often be placed in sumps and/or monitoring wells.
Hazmat Absorbents – Hazmat absorbents are ideal for chemical spills of bio-hazardous liquids in both industrial and commercial environments. They’re part of spill kits and are available as mats, pads, rolls, socks, dikes and booms. They are used on land because they do not float in water. Hazmat absorbents also absorb water-based fluids like gas, hydraulic fluids, coolants, acetone, hexane and turpentine.
Spill Control Kits – These kits store and protect absorbents in easily accessible spill kits. Spill kits allow workers to quickly respond to an incident to manage potentially dangerous and costly spills. These kits are typically stored near locations that have the largest potential for a spill (i.e. gasoline stations, near above ground storage tanks, near drum storage areas, etc.)
Pine Environmental Services, LLC. offers a wide variety of preventative spill control products and storage devices ranging from flammable and combustible storage lockers, spill containment decks and pallets, intermediate bulk carrier (IBC) units, containment sumps, and overpack drums. Additionally, Pine sells a full range absorbent products. If you need help selecting the correct industrial absorbent, please feel free to contact any Pine Environmental Services, LLC. office.