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How to Make a Spill Kit FAQs

 

Generator Treatment FAQs
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Preparedness & Prevention FAQs
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Disclaimer: 

The information provided on this page is a best management practice (BMP) that does not necessarily reflect requirements of the Vermont Hazardous Waste Management Regulations (VHWMR). While the VHWMR specify that small and large quantity generators be equipped with spill control and decontamination equipment (i.e., spill clean-up materials), the regulations do not specify what materials or equipment must be maintained.  If you are unsure or cannot determine what your facility needs to include in a spill kit, you should seek the assistance of a consultant or other environmental professional.

Also note that the following recommendations may not meet the spill kit requirements of EPA’s Spill Prevention Countermeasure and Control Planning regulations.

What is a spill kit?

What should employee training cover in regards to spills?

Are all spill kits the same?

What should a typical spill kit contain?

What personal protective equipment (PPE) should be included in spill kits?

What equipment and materials should be included in spill kits?

What other items should be included in a chemical spill kit?

How do I pack a spill kit?

What is a spill kit?

A spill kit is a collection of items to be used in the immediate response and clean-up of spills, leaks or other discharges of hazardous wastes or other hazardous materials (chemical spills). Spill kits should be maintained in close proximity to areas where chemicals are managed or stored to enable prompt response and clean-up of spills.

What should employee training cover in regards to spills?

Employees should be familiar with the location and contents of all spill kits and the procedure(s) to be followed in the event of a chemical spill. A procedure, or set of procedures (i.e., response may vary with type of chemical spilled), should be developed for proper spill kit use and to assist employees in the event of an emergency. All employees who work in areas where chemicals are managed should be trained in spill kit procedures and the appropriate response to chemical spills and other emergencies. Emergency contact information should also either be posted or included in spill kit procedures. It is important to note that, for some chemical spills, the best response is facility evacuation. Employee training should clearly address when not to attempt handling spills and to call in emergency response professionals.

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Are all spill kits the same?

The contents of a spill kit will vary depending on the type and quantity of each chemical used at a facility (or area within a facility). When constructing spill kits, the type and amount of equipment compiled for each kit should be sufficient to address any spill that employees can safely respond to. As mentioned above, procedures and training should inform employees about how to safely use spill kits, what size spill can be safely managed, and when to stop and contact emergency response professionals for assistance.

What should a typical spill kit contain?

A typical spill kit will contain three types of equipment:

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Equipment and materials to clean-up small spills
  • Equipment to contain larger spills

What personal protective equipment (PPE) should be included in spill kits?

A spill kit should include heavy-duty gloves made of nitrile or neoprene, chemical resistant safety glasses (goggles for areas where chemicals that may irritate eyes are used such as acids), and a disposable lab coat or apron. For areas where larger spills could potentially occur, a disposable protective suit and boot covers  should be included. Other protective equipment based on specific facility conditions may also be necessary (e.g., hard hat, steel toe boots, or dielectric equipment).

What equipment and materials should be included in spill kits?

Again, the contents of a spill kit should be tailored to the types and quantities of chemicals that can potentially spill.  While granular absorbents and spill pads and booms can be used to clean-up or contain most spills, not all spills are created equal.  For example, some spilled chemicals must be neutralized prior to being absorbed. Also, it’s critically important to be aware of situations where incompatible chemicals and/or clean-up materials are co-located and could potentially come in contact with each other.

Below are some examples of types of chemicals and the materials used to neutralize, absorb or contain a spill:

 

Chemical
Neutralizer, Absorbent, or Spill Containment
Acids

Sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate, or calcium carbonate

Acid Chlorides

Dry sand or other inert absorbent

DO NOT use water or sodium bicarbonate

Alkali Metals (Lithium, Sodium, Magnesium, Potassium)

Dry sand or contents from a Class "D" fire extinguisher

DO NOT use water

Bases
Sodium bisulfate
Bromine
5% solution of sodium thiosulfate or other inert material
Flammables
Activated charcoal, sand or non-combustible absorbent pads
Hydrofluoric Acid
Neutralize with soda ash or lime (or absorb with special HF spill pillow - standard spill pads will NOT work)
Mercury
Mercury amalgamate powder, such as Merc-sorb
Oil
Granular absorbent or oil-specific absorbent pads (especially important if a spill is on water; oil-specific absorbents will only absorb the oil)
Oxidizers
non-combustible absorbent pads
Solvents (organic)
Inert absorbent material
Thiols/Mercaptans
The odor of thiols and mercaptans may be removed with activated charcoal
White or Yellow Phosphorus
Cover with wet sand or wet absorbent

 

What other items should be included in a chemical spill kit?

 The following items are recommended for spill kits:

  • A container to hold spill clean-up debris.  This could be a five-gallon pail with sealable lid or thick plastic bags.  For larger spills, you should have spare 55-gallon drums and drum over-packs available.
  • Granular absorbent, absorbent pads and boom, as appropriate.
  • Plastic dust pan and broom for sweeping up granular absorbent.  For flammable materials, ensure the dust pan is a spark-free tool.
  • For larger spills, you may want to have a pump to empty leaking drums as well as plugs and patching materials for drums. 
  • Labels (e.g., Hazardous waste stickers) to properly mark containers of spill clean-up debris.
  • Forceps, tongs, or other tools to pick-up contaminated debris or broken glass (if you have glass bottles of chemicals)
  • Chemical Spill kit procedures
  • Basic First Aid kit (band-aids, bandages, sterile pads, medical tape, triple antibiotic ointment)
    • Some chemicals you may also want specific first aid materials available including:
      • Hydrofluoric Acid:  Calcium gluconate gel (2.5%) for skin contact
      • Chloroform/Phenol:  Isopropanol, polyethylene glycol 300, or polyethylene glycol 400 for skin contact

While the contents of each spill kit does not have to be stored in a single container, it should be kept together in one location.  For small spill kits, five-gallon pails are often used, and for larger kits, a 55-gallon drum or over-pack may be used to contain the kit.  These containers may then be used to contain spill clean-up debris. 

 

How do I pack a spill kit?

Spill kits should be packaged in the order of when materials will be needed. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be stored on the top so that it is easily accessible and reminds employees to don the PPE prior to commencing spill clean-up. Absorbent materials and other equipment needed to clean up the materials should be under the PPE. Finally, plastic bags and other materials to contain the spill debris, such as pan and broom, should be in the bottom of the kit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VT DEC Waste Management & Prevention Division 1 National Life Drive - Davis 1  Montpelier, VT  05620-3704  Tele: 802-828-1138  Fax: 802-828-1011

 

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