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Spill Resonse Planning Must Include Waste Management Responses

Posted on Fri, Nov 12, 2010

Spill response planning should include detailed waste management procedures. Each hazardous spill situation is unique and must be treated according to the circumstance presented. However, hazardous material handling and necessary disposal needs may be overlooked in the initial phase of a response, which could result in delays and interruptions of cleanup operations.

OSHA defines clean up operation as “an operation where hazardous substances are removed, contained, incinerated, neutralized, stabilized, cleared-up, or in any other manner processed or handled with the ultimate goal of making the site safer for people or the environment.”

The following waste management information should be considered in an spill response plan:

  • Proper PPE and waste handling procedures
  • Disposal plan in accordance with any federal, state, and/or local regulations
  • Facility-specific disposal locations for different types of materials
  • Continuous tracking of oil disposition to better estimate amount of waste generated
  • Methods and procedures for waste collection, segregation, storage, transportation, and proper disposal
  • Regulatory review of applicable laws to ensure compliance and appropriate permitting
  • Documentation of all waste handling and disposal activities


The backbone of hazardous waste management planning should include the “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” initiative implemented by the EPA:

  • Reusing materials when possible
  • Recycling or reclaiming waste
  • Treating waste to reduce hazards or reducing amount of waste generated

Emergency planning for waste management must incorporate personnel safety and minimize environment impacts.  Through proper planning and disposal procedures, hazardous waste management planning can limit environmental liability, and as an effect, minimize additional immediate and long-term financial burdens.

For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download our Best Practices for Crisis Management.

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Tags: Emergency Preparedness, Crisis Management, SPCC, Oil Spill, Emergency Management Program