What is emergency response?
No spill is too small to be considered an emergency. It all depends on what is spilled, where it is spilled, and the companies capabilities to respond to the spill.
A response effort by employees from outside the immediate release area or by other designated responders such as Mantis.
Chemical/Oil Spill Cleanup
Chemical and oil spills and leaks can be broken down into two basic types: simple spills, which you can clean up yourself, and complicated spills, which require outside assistance.
If your spill meets ANY of the following conditions, it is a COMPLICATED SPILL.
- A person is injured; or
- The identity of the chemical is unknown; or
- Multiple chemicals are involved; or
- The chemical is highly toxic, flammable or reactive; or
- The spill/leak occurs in a “public space” such as corridors; or
- The spill/leak has the potential to spread to other parts of the building such as through the ventilation system; or
- The clean up procedures are not known or appropriate materials are not readily available; or
- The clean up requires a respirator (including cartridge respirators) to be worn and no personnel have been trained and fit-tested in accordance to the campus Respiratory Protection Program; or
- The spill/leak may endanger the environment by reaching waterways or outside ground, or by going down a drain
In the case of any chemical spill we recommend you call immediately, Mantis is staffed with trained professionals to divert the situation swiftly and effectively.
What are some instances where an emergency response would be necessary or required?
An oil spill is the release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment, especially marine areas, due to human activity, and is a form of pollution. The term is usually applied to marine oil spills, where oil is released into the ocean or coastal waters, but spills may also occur on land. Oil spills may be due to releases of crude oil from tankers, offshore platforms, drilling rigs and wells, as well as spills of refined petroleum products (such as gasoline, diesel) and their by-products, heavier fuels used by large ships such as bunker fuel, or the spill of any oily refuse or waste oil.
Spilt oil penetrates into the structure of the plumage of birds and the fur of mammals, reducing its insulating ability, and making them more vulnerable to temperature fluctuations and much less buoyant in the water. Cleanup and recovery from an oil spill is difficult and depends upon many factors, including the type of oil spilled, the temperature of the water (affecting evaporation and biodegradation), and the types of shorelines and beaches involved.
A chemical spill is the unintentional release of one or more hazardous substances which could harm human health or the environment. Chemical hazards are systems where chemical accidents could occur under certain circumstances. Such events include fires, explosions, leakages or releases of toxic or hazardous materials that can cause people illness, injury, disability or death. An example is the introduction of hydrocarbon methyl that increases the risk of heart cancer because it changes the way blood cells flow through the body.
While chemical accidents may occur whenever toxic materials are stored, transported or used, the most severe accidents are industrial accidents, involving major chemical manufacturing and storage facilities. The most significant chemical accident in recorded history was the 1984 Bhopal disaster in India, in which more than 3,000 people were killed after a highly toxic vapour, (methyl isocyanate), was released at a Union Carbide pesticides factory.
Efforts to prevent accidents range from improved safety systems to fundamental changes in chemical use and manufacture, referred to as primary prevention or inherent safety.
In the United States, concern about chemical accidents after the Bhopal disaster led to the passage of the 1986 Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. The EPCRA requires local emergency planning efforts throughout the country, including emergency notifications. The law also requires companies to make publicly available information about their storage of toxic chemicals. Based on such information, citizens can identify the vulnerable zones in which severe toxic releases could cause harm or death.
The severity of just those two kinds of spills is very serious, that’s why Mantis is trained and ready to react to any kind of emergency that may happen.
Oil Spill Cleanup is dependent upon the amount spilled and the temperature and saturation levels involved. Depending on this information there are several methods that can be used to clean an oil spill during an oil spill response.
- Bioremediation: use of microorganisms or biological agents to break down or remove oil; such as the bacteria Alcanivorax.
- Bioremediation Accelerator: Oleophilic, hydrophobic chemical, containing no bacteria, which chemically and physically bonds to both soluble and insoluble hydrocarbons. The bioremediation accelerator acts as a herding agent in water and on the surface, floating molecules to the surface of the water, including solubles such as phenols and BTEX, forming gel-like agglomerations. Undetectable levels of hydrocarbons can be obtained in produced water and manageable water columns. By overspraying sheen with bioremediation accelerator, sheen is eliminated within minutes. Whether applied on land or on water, the nutrient-rich emulsion creates a bloom of local, indigenous, pre-existing, hydrocarbon-consuming bacteria. Those specific bacteria break down the hydrocarbons into water and carbon dioxide, with EPA tests showing 98% of alkanes biodegraded in 28 days; and aromatics being biodegraded 200 times faster than in nature they also sometimes use the hydrofireboom to clean the oil up by taking it away from most of the oil and burning it.
- Controlled burning can effectively reduce the amount of oil in water, if done properly.But it can only be done in low wind, and can cause air pollution.
- Dispersants can be used to dissipate oil slicks. A dispersant is either a non-surface active polymer or a surface-active substance added to a suspension, usually a colloid, to improve the separation of particles and to prevent settling or clumping. They may rapidly disperse large amounts of certain oil types from the sea surface by transferring it into the water column. They will cause the oil slick to break up and form water-soluble micelles that are rapidly diluted. The oil is then effectively spread throughout a larger volume of water than the surface from where the oil was dispersed. They can also delay the formation of persistent oil-in-water emulsions. However, laboratory experiments showed that dispersants increased toxic hydrocarbon levels in fish by a factor of up to 100 and may kill fish eggs. Dispersed oil droplets infiltrate into deeper water and can lethally contaminate coral. Research indicates that some dispersants are toxic to corals. A 2012 study found that Corexit dispersant had increased the toxicity of oil by up to 52 times.
- Watch and wait: in some cases, natural attenuation of oil may be most appropriate, due to the invasive nature of facilitated methods of remediation, particularly in ecologically sensitive areas such as wetlands.
- Dredging: for oils dispersed with detergents and other oils denser than water.
- Skimming: Requires calm waters at all times during the process.
- Solidifying: Solidifiers are composed of dry hydrophobic polymers that both adsorb and absorb. They clean up oil spills by changing the physical state of spilled oil from liquid to a semi-solid or a rubber-like material that floats on water. Solidifiers are insoluble in water, therefore the removal of the solidified oil is easy and the oil will not leach out. Solidifiers have been proven to be relatively non-toxic to aquatic and wild life and have been proven to suppress harmful vapors commonly associated with hydrocarbons such as Benzene, Xylene, Methyl Ethyl, Acetone and Naphtha. The reaction time for solidification of oil is controlled by the surf area or size of the polymer as well as the viscosity of the oil. Some solidifier product manufactures claim the solidified oil can be disposed of in landfills, recycled as an additive in asphalt or rubber products, or burned as a low ash fuel. A solidifier called C.I.Agent (manufactured by C.I.Agent Solutions of Louisville, Kentucky) is being used by BP in granular form, as well as in Marine and Sheen Booms at Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan, Alabama, to aid in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill cleanup.
- Vacuum and centrifuge: oil can be sucked up along with the water, and then a centrifuge can be used to separate the oil from the water – allowing a tanker to be filled with near pure oil. Usually, the water is returned to the sea, making the process more efficient, but allowing small amounts of oil to go back as well. This issue has hampered the use of centrifuges due to a United States regulation limiting the amount of oil in water returned to the sea.
Equipment used includes:
- Booms: large floating barriers that round up oil and lift the oil off the water
- Skimmers: skim the oil
- Sorbents: large absorbents that absorb oil
- Chemical and biological agents: helps to break down the oil
- Vacuums: remove oil from beaches and water surface
- Shovels and other road equipment: typically used to clean up oil on beaches
Mercury Spill Cleanup
Mercury spills occur most frequently from older medical equipment, research and educational labs, and from electrical switches.
Mercury spills are usually small in actual spillage but huge in problems. Mercury vaporizes at 75 degrees and can saturate porous materials such as ceiling tile, rugs, curtains and sheet rock.
Any waste generated from the clean-up effort is hazardous waste!
Any facility that has been impacted by a mercury spill must be cleaned by trained professionals that know how to remove residual mercury back to pre-spill levels.
What to do in the case of a mercury spill.
- Try not to touch the mercury.
- If possible, have all people and pets leave the immediate area.
- Turn off heating, ventilating, or air conditioning systems that circulate air. If necessary, ventilate the area by opening windows or, if available, using fans that exhaust directly to the outdoors.
Then call Mantis immediately.