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    Best Practice Guide to Spill Control (USA): How Top Companies Approach the 3 Common Types of Workplace Spill

    Not all spill scenarios are covered specifically by the EPA Code 40 regulations on secondary containment and some common risks are frequently overlooked or mis-managed. Spills are a risk wherever hazardous liquids like oil and fuel are used or stored on a regular basis.

    If you work for a large company, you’ll be under the most scrutiny so it’s even more important you get it right. Where a lot of spill control approaches come unstuck is when rainfall is introduced into the mix. In this Best Practice Guide, we share the most effective way to approach each of the three common workplace spill scenarios:

    • High-volume spills (drums & IBCs)
    • Low-volume unpredictable accidents
    • Low-volume predictable accidents

    We make spill control very simple so you can be sure that you can be sure you have all the bases covered.

    High Volume Spills

    If you are storing drums or IBCs of hazardous liquids, the rules are simple. EPA code 40 CFR 264.175 states that “The containment system must have sufficient capacity to contain ten percent of the volume of containers or the volume of the largest container, whichever is greater.”

    Common forms of secondary containment used here are containment pallets or berms. The drawback of these is that they can fill with rainwater potentially creating a volume of contaminated water which would need to be disposed of responsibly. The easy solution is to locate these stores indoors or in a bunded container with a roof. If this isn’t possible, then you need to install an oil/water separator to drain the bund and separate out the oil for disposal or recycling.

    The only exception to these regs is if you are temporarily storing containers (e.g. before transporting them elsewhere).

    Low-volume Spills

    Even if EPA Code 40 regulations apply to secondary containment, smaller spills must also be managed effectively. Any spillage of hazardous liquids onto land or into a waterway constitutes pollution, and surface water drains lead directly to natural waterways.

    Smaller spills can be categorized as either unpredictable accidents or predictable accidents.

    Unpredictable Accidents

    You can’t plan for every mishap. A worker drops an oil container and the cap comes off. Or a distracted worker puts down a can of fuel which gets knocked over by a forklift truck. For these scenarios, we have spill kits. Spill kits are available for different types of polluting liquid (e.g. oils, chemicals) and are generally used by most responsible businesses.

    Predictable Accidents

    This is perhaps the least well-catered-for spill scenario. Regular refueling, oil top-ups, and maintenance activities with motorized equipment represent consistent spill risks. Spill kits aren’t the answer here; they should be a last form of defense. They are known as an active form of secondary containment because someone has to do something to prevent the spill entering the environment. This takes time, so the liquid may have absorbed into the ground or spread to a drain before you return with the spill kit. They are also messy for workers to use and generate a volume of hazardous waste.

    Drip trays and berms are another common but flawed approach. Many people feel more comfortable using a container with sidewalls but, just like a bund, they can fill with rainwater creating a pool of hazardous waste which needs to be disposed of in a responsible manner.

    Unfortunately, this isn’t very practical. It can be a challenge carrying a cup of coffee from one room to another without spilling some, let alone carrying a drip tray full of oily water to a hazardous waste bin. Having the waste water removed by a third-party contractor is an additional and continuous cost you can do without.

    In practice, flooded trays and berms are often left to overflow or are simply emptied out onto the ground. In other words, they don’t prevent pollution they simply it delay it.

    The smarter way to capture these spills is with an innovative spill mat called EnviroPad. This revolutionary spill pad uses smart polymers to absorb oil-based liquids and turn them into a non-leaching solid.

    The pollutants are locked inside EnviroPad permanently. They won’t drain out if the pad is hung up in storage, they won’t squeeze out under pressure, and they can’t be flushed out by rainwater or washing.

    Each of the five sizes of EnviroPad has an incredible capacity which means that the pads can last years before needing to be replaced. Even better, EnviroPad is TCLP compliant which means that it may be suitable for landfill instead of hazardous waste in your state.

    This product is extremely rugged too, making it ideal for drive-on, drive-off refueling points.

    This product works with all fuels and oils commonly used with powered equipment and vehicles, including bio alternatives like hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO).

    When it comes to eco-friendly and effective spill control, EnviroPad offers unmatched protection. It is widely considered best practice by top construction companies around the world and is now available in the USA. You can find more information on EnviroPad here.

    For pricing and availability please email