What to do about spills

Spills, leaks, accidental releases are of concern to environmental regulatory agencies when they have the potential to reach the environment....land, water or air.

Spills of petroleum products are regulated under a separate set of regulations from chemical spills. The SUNY Geneseo campus has sufficient quantities of petroleum products to require a federal Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) Plan.

Releases of refrigerant from the large chillers used to air condition entire campus buildings (not window air conditioners) are also subject to federal requirements.

Spills of hazardous waste are regulated under RCRA and require specialize training and certification of "responders". SUNY Geneseo personnel are not to attempt to cleanup spills of hazardous waste. Call UP to report any spills of hazardous waste.

Spills or releases of hazardous substances or hazardous chemicals have both federal and state requirements. Reporting of spills of these chemicals is required when the quantity of spilled exceeds chemical-specific thresholds. The New York State thresholds, some as small as one pound, are codified in 6 NYCRR Part 395. A table has been developed that presents the varied federal reporting requirements.

Spill Response

The best response to a spill is to prevent it from occurring. However, it is recognized that spills do happen.

All departments are responsible to ensure the availability of spill response materials (Spill Kits, or other spill response materials) specific to the chemicals and substances used within their departments. This may be a Mercury Spill Kit in areas of even small quantities of Mercury use, such as academic sciences, Department of Facilities Services, and Lauderdale Student Health Services or Oil Spill Kits in areas of petroleum use. Some departments may find it useful to have kits that can be used on a wide variety of chemicals and substances.

Departments are also responsible to ensure that Departmental personnel are sufficiently familiar with the limitations of the Spill Kits, and the hazards posed by the substances and chemicals to prevent injury during Spill response. Large spills of chemicals or spills of chemicals high or unknown toxicity may require response erpsnnel from Livingston County. A flowchart of the process involved in departmental spill response has been developed.

A general Spill Response and Reporting Plan and Form for the campus has been prepared. Departments are responsible to prepare specific chemical and substance Spill Response Procedures as part of their Chemical Safety Plans.