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Selecting a Spill Contractor

Find a Spill Contractor

Selecting an environmental spill contractor is different than selecting an environmental consultant. Spill response involves the immediate mobilization of resources to minimize threats to public health and the environment. A competent environmental spill contractor will have on-call skilled trained personnel and equipment resources for immediate deployment to assist a client with spill containment and cleanup. In addition to the spill cleanup, a competent spill contractor will assist their client in navigating and fulfilling the complexity of federal, state, and local regulations.

IDEM has assembled a map of spill contractors servicing Indiana and provides guidance on the selection of a spill contractor. Spill response contractors’ skills, experience, and available equipment vary widely and so it is important to select a spill contractor who has the capability to address specific spill response needs as each spill differs in complexity. This guidance and spill contractor map should be used together to select a potential spill contractor. The spill contractor map is not all-inclusive. These tools are provided to help expedite spill response efforts and should not be taken as legal advice.

You’ve had a spill and need to select a spill contractor

First check and determine if your company has a spill contingency plan or other pre-planning documents which list pre-selected spill response contractors. If you have a plan, follow your plan.

If you do not have a plan or your pre-selected spill contractor is unable to provide a timely response, IDEM recommends you first discuss the incident with on-scene personnel, preferably the Incident Commander (I.C.). The IDEM On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) is also a good source of information and can be contacted 24/7 at the IDEM spill line. Find out everything you can about the incident and ask what spill response equipment and resources are needed. Get an exact location of the spill so you can direct the hired spill contractor to the incident location.

Consider the following when contacting prospective spill contractors:

  1. Does the spill contractor have response capabilities that meet the specific needs to contain and cleanup this spill?
    • Discuss the scope of work and confirm the spill contractor has the ability to do the job. Confirm the contractor has the required equipment and doesn’t need to wait for sub-contracted personnel or equipment. Spills impacting water require different spill response equipment and expertise than spills that only impact soil or road surfaces. Petroleum spills require different spill response equipment and expertise compared to agricultural chemical spills, etc.
  2. Can the spill contractor provide a timely response?
    • Confirm the estimated time of arrival (ETA) for the spill contractor and necessary equipment to the spill location. Timely response is essential to minimize impacts to human health, environment, and property. Roadway spills often result in road closures with first responders remaining on-site until the spill is either contained or cleaned up.
  3. What is the estimated cost?
    • Spill response costs vary and are difficult to estimate, however it is advised that anticipated costs be discussed such as mobilization fees and estimated personnel, equipment, and waste disposal costs. Insist on being updated if and when costs exceed original estimate. Be aware that spill contractors that do not have a pre-existing contract with you often require an initial down payment via credit card or other electronic means before they mobilize and initiate a spill response.
  4. Who’s the field supervisor for the hired spill contractor?
    • Have the spill contactor provide you with the name and cell number for the field supervisor for the response. This individual will be responsible to provide you, on-site first responders, and regulatory agencies with status updates to the spill response effort.

Once a spill contractor has been selected, provide the Incident Commander and the IDEM On-Scene Coordinator notification that a spill contractor has been hired, an ETA, and the field supervisor contact information.

Pre-planning

IDEM encourages all businesses with the potential to release petroleum, hazardous or objectionable substances to pre-plan and develop a spill contingency plan for environmental related emergencies. Beyond being a recommendation, many facilities and various modes of transportation have a regulatory requirement to develop and maintain a spill contingency plan. If uncertain that your business is required to develop and maintain a spill contingency plan you may consult with IDEM’s Compliance and Technical Assistance Program (CTAP) for free confidential services.

Both fixed facilities and modes of transportation benefit in the development of a spill contingency plan as this pre-planning expedites response, alleviates headaches, and may save a business money if an actual event occurs. Spill contingency plans vary in complexity depending on the type and quantity of material(s) stored or transported, but all spill contingency plans fundamentally:

  • Identify materials that could potentially be released
  • Identify potential risks to human health, environment, and property if a release occurs
  • Provide a notification plan with regularly updated contacts
  • Provide a response strategy

The development of a spill contingency plan affords your business an opportunity to interview and pre-select a spill contractor best suited to respond to a spill or release at your facility or mode of transportation.

Additional Resource

In addition to IDEM spill reporting and cleanup requirements, facilities and modes of transportation may have additional Federal, State, and local obligations. These web links are provided to assist with identification of other reporting obligations but is not intended to be an all-inclusive listing of potential obligations.

Following initial containment, spills often require remobilization to excavate contaminated soils. The excavations of these contaminated soils should be performed by qualified, bonded/insured competent contractors who comply with Federal, State, and local regulations. The following web links are provided as a tool to assist in roadway permitting and utility locates but is not intended to be an all-inclusive listing of potential permit or utility locate obligations.

Contractors performing spill response are required to meet and maintain Federal and State training certifications to ensure work is performed safely.

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