Environmental Health and Safety

If a Spill Occurs

If a spill occurs and it is safe to respond, do so immediately. Secure the area with “Caution – Do Not Enter” tape, rope, or warning signs and inform your supervisor as well as others in the immediate area of the spill. Block any drains that could be impacted by the spill. This can be done using spill response materials such as a spill mat, drain plug, or berm. If these materials are not available, the drain can be blocked using any materials on hand, such as plastic garbage bags tucked around the drain or dirt piled around the drain to form a berm. Notify Public Safety and EHSEM at (313)593-5333.

If the spill is of a known material and is something you are comfortable cleaning up, then clean up the spill according to your department's emergency spill response procedures. When cleaning up a spill, be sure to protect yourself with any necessary personal protective equipment; familiarize yourself with the material safety data sheet for the spilled material; and be aware of any potential hazards associated with the clean up. When the spilled material has been cleaned up, place any contaminated materials in a sealed container. DO NOT dispose of spill debris or contaminated protective equipment into the general trash, down a drain, or into the ground. Never wash spilled materials down a storm drain or sanitary sewer, or allow them to evaporate. If any spilled material enters a storm drain or sanitary sewer, contact Public Safety and EHSEM at (313)593-5333. The materials used to clean up any spill must be disposed of properly through EHSEM.DO NOT place them in the dumpster . Contact EHSEM for proper disposal at (313)593-5333

If improper dumping or discharge is observed on University property, immediately notify Public Safety and EHSEM at (313)593-5333.

Be Prepared
Keep the staff in your department updated on emergency response procedures and conduct periodic review sessions. A copy of your department's procedures should be kept in your work area, including whom to contact in case of a spill, an evacuation route, and the location of spill response materials.

Train employees in advance on when and how to use spill response materials properly. Assign a person to test clean-up equipment periodically and maintain its inventory.

Rubber mats, temporary drain plugs, or berms should be kept in the area so drains can be blocked immediately. For small spills, use a chemical spill pillow or adsorbent material appropriate for the spill. For non-hazardous materials, adsorbents that can be swept or picked up such as sawdust, vermiculite, oil-dry, or activated charcoal may be used. Avoid the use of cat litter, it is relatively non-absorbent and increases waste volume.

If you have any questions or need assistance contact EHSEM at (313)593-9021