Dealing With Chemical Leaks

Chemical spills can cause severe damage to the environment and to the economy if not managed effectively. Chemical spills are defined as a ‘waste of resources’ that may result due to a leak, leakage or dispersal of chemicals, and their disposal should be addressed and dealt with through effective chemical spill management (ESM). There are many chemical spills and emergency response protocols that must be adhered to in an effective manner to minimize the potential environmental and health hazard posed by chemical spills. Industrial accident victims and other vulnerable industries should ensure that they have adequate spill control and response programs in place to prevent chemical spills and implement effective chemical spill preparedness and response.

The major chemical spills include those caused by accidents at power plants, manufacturing, transportation, waste transfer, and industrial processing, to name a few. The types of chemicals that are commonly involved include: hydrocarbons (including diesel, gas, gasoline, kerosene, etc), acids (like chlorine, acids, hydrochloric acid, etc), vacuums (including air trucks and trailers, water treatment plants, pesticide manufacturers, etc. ), solvents, pesticides, and UV light (such as sunlight, exposure to UV rays from the sun, etc.). Other potential sources of chemical spills include waste oil, coolants, petroleum-based products, and other chemical-containing goods. Chemical spills can cause severe contamination and environmental hazards such as: contamination of drinking water, contamination of the soil, disruption of the ecosystems, disruption of the agricultural productivity, and disruption of the residential community.

In response to spill emergencies, prompt spill control and response are essential to protect public safety and reduce environmental harm. EPA recommends that whenever possible, companies perform spill response according to the standard spill response plan provided by the company’s spill control and management systems and implemented by hazard containment specialists like Stratex. An effective spill response plan ensures the quick and safe evacuation of the site, minimization of risks to people, equipment, and property, and the restoration and clean up of contaminated materials. It also makes sure that contaminated materials are transported off-site to designated emergency storage or to the nearest neutralization facility.