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Spill Response Preparation and Implementation

“Houston, we’ve got a problem.”  If your company is one of the many thousands that handles hazardous or dangerous materials, whether in solid or liquid form, those words are one of the last things you want to hear, especially if it means that you had a spill at one of your company’s facilities. But spills do happen and your level of preparedness, training, and response during the first few minutes or hours after a release occurs will have a huge effect on the eventual outcome, including:

  1. The overall magnitude of the impacts
  2. The cleanup costs
  3. The public’s perception of your company

Preparedness begins by evaluating the materials you handle at a facility and developing a spill response plan that defines how to respond to a spill safely. Your spill plan must evaluate the physical and chemical hazards of materials used at that facility, identify appropriate protective equipment for the spill response team, and evaluate the local environmental conditions. Then, based on the initial hazard evaluation, you need to identify and procure the necessary spill response equipment and support resources, and finally, you need to train your staff how to respond.

Training is key to an effective spill response program. Your spill plan should include written step by step guidance listing contact information for spill response personnel, corporate contacts, contractors, required agency notifications, and maps that clearly show evacuation routes and muster points. The spill plan should also define the training requirements and outline procedures for regular spill response drills with your staff. These training drills should include real-world scenarios and hands-on training on how to deploy and use all equipment, spill absorbent materials, and air monitoring instruments that may be required to respond to a spill. The training and drills should be documented, and if possible, engage the local emergency response providers (i.e. police and fire department).

The initial response during those first few minutes after a spill occurs is critical and can have a far-reaching effect on the eventual outcome. It is necessary to quickly assess key aspects of the release including:

  • The volume and type of material spilled
  • The media impacted
  • The local topography (i.e. direction of flow)
  • Adjacent land uses
  • Sensitive receptors in the area
  • Wind direction
  • Identifying and making the required notifications.

This is precisely why Braun Intertec created an integrated multidisciplinary Rapid Response Team (RRT). Leveraging years of spill response experience, we can teach your staff how to assess your spill response needs and help you set up your own spill response program. With key team members and first response contractors positioned close to the oil and gas production areas, our RRT is ready to mobilize to your site when you need us. With experience covering releases at well pads, tank batteries, pipelines, gas treatment facilities, refineries, underground storage tanks, traffic accidents, and even indoor hazardous material spills, we have the personnel and tools necessary to respond, assess, and cleanup spills of all sizes on land and water.

When you work with Braun Intertec you can feel confident that your spill will be addressed quickly, safely, and in accordance with the regulatory requirements. For more information about our spill response capabilities contact Billy Gamblin.

William Gamblin, PE Associate Principal, Senior Engineer

P: 512.484.2033