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The prevention of spills, and ultimately the response to a spill when prevention fails, should be included in every unit SOP. Every commander will be faced with the responsibility of preventing spills and with responding to a spill. Spills can occur in spite of best efforts. What must not happen is a failure to respond or failure to respond in a timely and adequate manner. Following are extracts from the FM 20-400/MCRP 4-11B sample unit environmental SOP which provides a spill-response plan, a list of spill equipment and materials, and the electronic spill report message format (defined in FM 101-5-2).


1. IMMEDIATE ACTION. A spill is defined as any quantity of petroleum product over five gallons (or according to local laws, since some states are more stringent) or any quantity of any other HW. Should a spill occur, the immediate actions are as follows:

a. Protect yourself.

(1) Evacuate the area, if necessary, due to the type of spill.

(2) Take personal precautions as detailed on the MSDS for the material spilled.

(3) Use the proper PPE.

(4) Extinguish smoking materials and all sources of ignition.

(5) Turn off power if there is the possibility of fire.

(6) Ventilate the area.

b. Stop the flow (do it safely).

(1) Shut off valves, turn drums upright, and so forth, if possible.

(2) Do not take unnecessary chances, but stop the flow if it is possible without injury or contamination.

(3) Shower and change clothes as soon as possible if HW contamination occurs.

c. Contain the spill (quickly and safely).

(1) Contain the spill by throwing absorbent, floor sweep, or dirt on it.

(2) Make dams to keep the spill from spreading further, and do not let it enter storm, sewer drains, or other waterways.

(3) Divert the flow to prevent the spill from entering any water source, including drains, if containment is not possible.

d. Report the spill immediately.

(1) Report the spill to your superior.

(2) Sound the alarm or give verbal warning.

(3) Have another person call the installation's fire department while you continue to assess the size and severity of the spill.

(4) Immediately report to the unit ECO or the installation's environmental office spills of any HM other than a petroleum product, regardless of quantity.

(5) Make a copy of the pertinent MSDS for emergency-response personnel in the event of a reportable spill (if you are the senior person in charge).

e. Clean up the spill.

(1) Scoop up contaminated material and put it in a container. Mark the container with "Hazardous Waste, Contaminated Absorbent (Dirt)" if the spill occurred on concrete or asphalt and the spill was cleaned up with absorbent or dirt.

(2) Check with the unit supply sergeant or the DRMO for proper disposal.

f. Replace spill equipment.

(1) Immediately after a spill clean-up, the spill-response team's noncommissioned officer-in-charge (NCOIC) will account for all tools and supplies. The NCOIC will order replacement consumables (sweeping compound and rags) from unit supply. He will also identify missing property and initiate appropriate action (statement of charges or report of survey) to maintain accountability.

(2) The spill-response team's NCOIC will ensure that spill-kit inventories are complete before resealing the drums.

g. Maintain POC list for assistance (listed by office, name, telephone number, and building).

(1) Fire department.

(2) Installation's EMO.

(3) Unit's ECO.


a. Take the immediate actions in paragraph 1 above.

b. Ensure that any PPE specified in the MSDS is properly used.

c. Transfer the fluid to a serviceable container if the container is still leaking fluid.

d. Absorb the remaining spilled liquid with absorbent material. Use only the amount necessary to absorb the spill. If the spill is too large, take remedial action while waiting for the fire department.

e. Clean up the material with a nonsparking shovel or broom, and place the residue in a serviceable container with a secure lid.

f. Label the container.

(1) Label the container--"POL SPILL RESIDUE"--for fuel, oil, or hydraulic fluid spills.

(2) Label the container--"(Name of Chemical) SPILL RESIDUE - FLAMMABLE"--for flammable liquid spills (including solvents, paints, paint thinners, and alcohol).

(3) Label the container--"(Name of Acid) SPILL RESIDUE - ACID"--for acid spills.

g. Store the container in the HW storage area while awaiting turn-in.

h. Turn in the residue container to DRMO.



Each unit or activity should maintain a spill kit to respond to accidental releases and spills of hazardous material. Below is a list of recommended equipment that should be maintained in the unit/activity spill kit. This list is not all inclusive and should be expanded depending on the mission. It is the responsibility of the unit/activity to purchase replacement or additional items for the kit or to purchase additional kits. Additional quantities will be based on the likely size or frequency of potential spillage.


CONTAINERS (DOT or equivalent)
8105-00-848-9631 Bag, polyolefin, 5 millimeters, 36 x 54 inch
8125-00-174-0852 Bottle, plastic, 1 gallon (polyethylene)
8125-00-731-6016 13 gallon
8125-00-888-7069 5 gallon
8110-00-254-5719 Drum, steel, 1 gallon*
8100-00-128-6819 1-gallon steel drum (17C)*
8110-00-254-5722 4-gallon steel drum*
8110-00-282-2520 5-gallon steel drum (17C)*
8110-00-254-5713 Drum, steel, 6 gallon (w/ring)*
8110-01-204-8967 Pail, shipping, steel, 5 gallon (DOT 17C)*
8110-00-519-5618 Drum, steel, 10 gallon (DOT 17C)*
8110-00-753-4643 19-gallon steel drum (17C)*
8110-00-366-6809 30-gallon steel drum (17C)*
8110-00-030-7779 30-gallon steel drum*
8110-00-030-7780 50-gallon steel drum (17C)*
8110-00-823-8121 55-gallon steel drum (17M)*
8110-00-030-9783 Drum, steel 55 gallon (bung & vent) (DOT 17E)*
8110-01-282-7615 Drum, polyethylene, 55 gallon*
8110-01-101-4055 85-gallon steel disposal drum (no lining)*
8110-01-101-4056 85-gallon steel recovery drum (epoxy phenolic lining)*
8110-01-101-4055 Drum, hazardous material*
7930-00-269-1272 Clay, ground unit of issue (UI-bag)
1939-01-154-7001 Nonskid absorbent (UI-40 bag skid)
5640-00-801-4176 Insulation, thermal, vermiculite (UI-bag) (packing material)
4235-01-423-1466 4 each 1 cubic foot bag
4235-01-423-0711 1 each 1 cubic foot bag
4235-01-423-1463 30 each 18 x 18 inch pillows
4235-01-423-1467 20 each 2 inch x 10 foot sock
4235-01-423-1465 10 each 4 inch x 8 foot booms
4235-01-423-2787 10 inch x 10 foot booms
8135-00-579-6491 Plastic sheet, clear
8135-00-579-6492 Plastic sheet, black
4235-01-423-7214 Spill kit
4235-01-423-7221 Spill kit

* Refers to open top containers.
For bung container refer to federal logistics (FEDLOG) or contact your G-4.



GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS: Used to send timely information or status of an oil, hazardous material, or hazardous waste spill that could have immediate environmental and/or health effects. Sent in accordance with commander's direction. NOTE: Spill reporting and reportable quantities are mandated by federal and local law.

LINE 1--DATE AND TIME________________________________(DTG)
LINE 2--UNIT __________________________________________(Unit making report)
LINE 3--DATE/TIME_____________________________________(DTG of spill discovery)
LINE 4--MATERIAL _____________________________________(Material spilled)
LINE 5--QUANTITY _____________________________________(Quantity of spilled material)
LINE 6--LOCATION _____________________________________(UTM or six-digit grid coordinate with MGRS grid zone designator of spill)
LINE 7--CAUSE _________________________________________(Cause and supervising unit)
LINE 8--SIZE____________________________________________(Size of affected area)
LINE 9--DAMAGE _______________________________________(Damage to the natural environment, if required)
LINE 10--HAZARDS _____________________________________(Hazards to friendly forces and/or civilian personnel)
LINE 11--ACTIONS______________________________________(Summary of actions taken)
LINE 12--UNIT POC _____________________________________(Supervising unit POC)
LINE 13--ASSISTANCE __________________________________(Assistance required/requested)
LINE 14--NARRATIVE ___________________________________(Free text for additional information required for clarification of report)
LINE 15--AUTHENTICATION _____________________________(Report authentication)

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btn_prev.gif 1.18 KAppendix D: Alaska - Story o a Spill
btn_next.gif 1.18 KAppendix F: References and Resources

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias