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
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.
A number of steps must
be followed when handling product spilled on water. These steps are given
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:
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.
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.