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All spills are subject to strict reporting requirements, with potential criminal liability for violations. In case of spill, in any amount, see section on "Preparing to Deal with Spill." All spills must be minimized. Personnel can limit a spill by closing a valve that was accidentally opened, stopping any pumping through a ruptured line, or plugging a leak. Various methods, equipment, and materials are used to clean up spills. The type of cleanup used is determined by the type of product, where the spill occurs, weather conditions, and special considerations. Special considerations include closeness to drinking water sources, fishing grounds, wildlife habitats, bathing beaches, and recreational areas.
Spills on Dock or Ship
If there is a spill on the dock or ship, transfer operations must be stopped. If possible, the spill should be bailed into the cargo tank or bulkhead. Remaining product should be absorbed with absorbent material. Care should be taken to remove possible sources of vapor ignition.
Spills on Water
A number of steps must be followed when handling product spilled on water. These steps are given below.
§ Containing spills. Spills on calm water can be contained by barriers, such as floating booms. Floating booms are tubular floating sections that usually have a weighted skirt. They are either inflated or filled with buoyant material. The booms can be installed around unloading tankers, or they can be kept ready and used as needed. Once the spill is contained, one end of the boom can be pulled in to concentrate the spill and make skimming easier. Makeshift booms can be made from inflated fire hoses or from railroad ties, telephone poles, or empty drums linked by chains or cables.
§ Following Preventive Booming Policy. DFSC practices preventive booming whenever regulations dictate and according to the following guidance:
??Transfers of nonpersistent fuels such as JP-8 and gasoline must not be boomed, unless ordered by the Coast Guard.
??Fixed boom will not be required in areas of swift current (1.5 knots or greater) when fuel will be deflected over the top or under the boom.
??Do not boom in situations deemed unsafe.
§ Removing oil from the water. Some of the product can be removed with the suction pump, piping, and other equipment on a regular skimming boat or a barge. Some skimming boats are designed especially for removing oil. Others are barges or boats that have been adapted to remove the product from the water and store it. Chemical dispersants approved by the(EPA can be used as soon as the spill is contained, however, they are usually used after some of the product has been removed by skimming.
NOTE: Chemical dispersants must be approved by the EPA.
§ Cleaning up. After all product possible has been removed, absorbents, adsorbents, and chemical dispersants may be used to complete the cleanup. Product is soaked up by an absorbent, but it clings to the surface of the particles of an adsorbent. If the water is not rough and the slick is limited in size, either of these may be used to gather product on the surface. Some absorbents and adsorbents are sawdust, straw, cotton waste, talc, and powdered bark. Sawdust, straw, and cotton waste can be buried. These materials must be disposed of according to EPA regulations. Chemical dispersants break up a slick into tiny droplets so that natural bacteria in the water can consume the product. Dispersants are usually sprayed from a vessel, from a helicopter or a crop-spraying plane, or from hand-held equipment. Dispersants are useful in rough, open seas where skimming is difficult. Chemicals should never be used near a freshwater source or where fish or beaches are of prime concern unless fire, safety hazards, or other emergency conditions exist.
Spills on Shore
Spilled product that comes ashore may be removed mechanically or by detergents. The quicker the cleanup, the less the spread of contaminants.
NOTE: All detergents used must be approved by the EPA.
§ Mechanical removal. Where the water is calm, the product can be recovered and disposed of after it is saturated into absorbents or adsorbents. If the product forms pools on the shore, it may be possible to pump it into tank trucks. Product from a heavy slick tends to be deposited at the high-water mark, where it can be removed by bulldozer or by pail and shovel. The process must be repeated as the tide brings in more product. Sand saturated with product must be removed. If a large amount of sand is removed from a beach, it must be replaced with clean sand.
§ Removal with detergents. Detergents may endanger marine life. For that reason, using detergents for cleaning up spills is less desirable that removing product by mechanical means. Also, if detergents are not used properly, they may soak into the beach and create quicksand. When detergents are used, the sand should be turned over with a cultivator. The detergent should be sprayed on the beach no sooner than one hour before the incoming tide. The tide action rinses the product from the sand and carries it out to sea. The beach should be hosed toward the sea if there is not enough tidal action to remove the product. Detergent may also be sprayed on rocky beaches, harbor walls, and rocky coasts and then hosed toward the sea.
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