Oil drum spill
When Are You Required to Report a Hazardous Spill?

Reportable Quantities & Environmental Release

Unfortunately accidents seem to happen at the most inconvenient times. Whether you fall, crash, slip, or spill, it is often the aftermath that defines who we are. After all, there is no use crying over spilled milk. However if you spill hazardous goods, the aftermath can be a bit more complicated.

It is important when hazardous materials are spilled that it is addressed in a way that prevents any further damage to the environment or health of the community. But when is it necessary to report a hazardous spill to the proper authority? The Federal Government has established Reportable Quantities (RQ) for instances when hazardous substances are released in the environment. If a hazardous substances released in the environment in an amount that is equal or exceeds its RQ, it is required that it is reported to the federal authorities. A list of Reportable Quantities san be found in the latest 49 CFR.

Chemical Spill Guidelines

Specific guidelines are in place if hazardous materials are spilled during transportation. Whether you are loading, driving, unloading, or storing hazardous materials, you are required to adhere to the same guidelines. There are times when hazardous goods are transferred from one carrier to another. According to the D.O.T, whenever material is being transferred from one carrier to another, the upstream carrier remains responsible until the material is fully in the possession of the downstream carrier, no matter who is unloading the material.

Once the material has been delivered to the final intended consignee and the goods are no longer in transit, the final consignee becomes responsible for filing the report for spills that occur during the unloading process. If during the transportation of hazardous goods a spill takes place that meets or exceeds the reportable quantity (RQ), immediately contact the National Response Center (NRC).

You will need to provide the following information per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

  • Your name, location, organization, and telephone number
  • Name and address of the party responsible for the incident; or name of the carrier or vessel, the railcar/truck number, or other identifying information
  • Date and time of the incident
  • Location of the incident
  • Source and cause of the release or spill
  • Types of material(s) released or spilled
  • Quantity of materials released or spilled
  • Medium (e.g. land, water) affected by release or spill
  • Danger or threat posed by the release or spill
  • Number and types of injuries or fatalities (if any)
  • Weather conditions at the incident location
  • Whether an evacuation has occurred
  • Other agencies notified or about to be notified
  • Any other information that may help emergency personnel respond to the incident

If you have questions about chemical spills or reportable quantities, contact us here at ICC Compliance Center at 1-888-442-9628 (USA) or 1-888-977-44834 (Canada).

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