Thread: Fluid Spills

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    Default Fluid Spills

    I was wandering what your guys departments do for fluid spills. I have been on my department for 2 years and we have only had one MVA call. My town averages about 1 accident per day. Many times there are fluids present on the ground. Pretty much every other department in my county goes for fluids on the ground. I never really thought of this as a problem but the fact that every other department goes on these calls makes me wander if we are doing something wrong.

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    Are you complaining?
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Sounds like you don't respond to MVAs. As for the fluids, we scrub them down with biosolve and then wash it down in the summer or sweep it up in the winter. A lot of times in the winter we put down speedy dry as well. If it is a spill over 5 gallons you call in encon.

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    Routine small spills are handled with speedi-dry and left for the wrecker to pick up.

    Larger spills, such as those from a truck saddle tank and again contained with speedi-dry by the FD and the Sheriff's Office Haz-Mat deputy is called. At that poin, he will contact a commercial contractor to deal with clean-up and the billing of the responsible party.

    At a specific threshold, he will notify the State Police and a Haz-mat Trooper will respond and manage the spill and handle billing of the responsible party.

    In LA, haz-mat, beyond initial containment, is the responsibility of law enforcement, not the fire department.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Are you complaining?
    Nope. Why people always say stuff like this? I am just asking a simple question....

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Routine small spills are handled with speedi-dry and left for the wrecker to pick up.

    Larger spills, such as those from a truck saddle tank and again contained with speedi-dry by the FD and the Sheriff's Office Haz-Mat deputy is called. At that poin, he will contact a commercial contractor to deal with clean-up and the billing of the responsible party.

    At a specific threshold, he will notify the State Police and a Haz-mat Trooper will respond and manage the spill and handle billing of the responsible party.

    In LA, haz-mat, beyond initial containment, is the responsibility of law enforcement, not the fire department.
    A hazmat trooper?

    Maybe they will get entry troopers for fires down there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by modernmidnight View Post
    Nope. Why people always say stuff like this? I am just asking a simple question....
    And so did I!!!!!!

    I for one would be thankful that I was not running fluid spills every day......
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    A hazmat trooper?

    Maybe they will get entry troopers for fires down there.


    Under state law, the command and mitigation of hazardous materials incidents is the responsibility of the LA State Police.

    Each barracks has at least 2 troopers trained to the Tech level and they are assigned the title of Hazardous Materials Trooper. The state has contracted firms that come in and operate at the Operations and Technician Levels to mitigate the incident and clean-up the products. They also have the legal authority to bill responsible parties and cite violations as required.

    The power has also been delegated by the state police to the parish sheriff departments for smaller incidents. Most parishes have a couple of deputies trained to the tech level that respond to the smaller incidents.

    Most urban areas have their own teams and operate separate from the State Police. Very few rural FDs operate beyond the Awareness level and rely on the sheriff departments and/or state police for haz-mat scene management and operations as they have the legal jurisdiction.

    We have about 15 members trained at the operations level but do not maintain a formal team and do not have most of the equipment required for a formal response and decon as maintaining that would not be cost-effective for our department given that the state has contracted resources available. We conduct initial control operations as structural PPE allows and then we turn the scene over the the State Police. We may stay on-scene if requested for fire suppression support.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 02-20-2010 at 11:30 PM.

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    Not surprising at all, given that the alternative to the police handling it is you handling it.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    modernmidnight....

    What we do is use a product called "Slick Wick." It's ground up corn cobs used as an absorbent. No matter the time of year, we spread this stuff over the spilled fluids and let it sit. We do not sweep it up at all, it blows away in the wind which is all approved by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

    Funny thing is....back when I joined the department 19 years ago, there was no such thing as "hazmat" or "environment protection" so when there was a gas, oil, fluid, or whatever splashed over the roadway, we showed up and just got the hose out and did a "washdown" of the road. The fluid would be washed off the roadway to not make it slippery anymore and ran down into the ditch or storm sewers never to be seen or worried about again.

    Then one day the WI DNR said you can't do that, you gotta soak that up, sweep it up, and take it to be disposed of. So fire departments carried floor dry or kitty litter and swept it up, kept it in a garbage can at the station until the can got full. Then the can had to be taken to an approved recycling center for disposal. Eventually, fire departments in WI complained because now we were storing hazardous materials in the station and it was becoming real expensive to dispose of the products.

    Then one day the WI DNR changed their minds again. In recent years we can use this stuff that is basically ground up corn cobs which is an environmentally friendly and natural product to soak up those nasty fluids that are harmful to the environment. Now the fish are safe, the commuting public is safe, and the fluids are taken care of. This stuff is spread onto the spill and left to blow away in the wind never to be seen or worried about again.
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    hmm WI DNR must have discovered the solution to our pollution problems. If you use a natural product to soak up chemicals, then they are magically made safe. Interesting line of thinking, our good ol' government minds at work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    hmm WI DNR must have discovered the solution to our pollution problems. If you use a natural product to soak up chemicals, then they are magically made safe. Interesting line of thinking, our good ol' government minds at work.
    More like environmentalism gone wild. One day someone woke up decided there needed to be some common sense involved. There are many occasions when you can simply wash the road down. Even a couple of gallons of gasoline on a body of water won't hurt anything. It will simply evaporate and be all gone. 50 gallons is a different story. And in many cases, it is just washed off onto the shoulder where it eventually disappears into the ground where it came from in the first place.

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    Speedy dry, sweep it up, put it in a plastic garbage bag and give it to the tow truck guy.

    If we must, we'll bring it back and throw it in the dumpster.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Seems like a fairly reasonable option.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Speedy dry, sweep it up, put it in a plastic garbage bag and give it to the tow truck guy.

    If we must, we'll bring it back and throw it in the dumpster.
    We do an easier version of this. We do containment, not clean up on all HAZMAT stuff. Accidents get enough oil dry or equivalent to contain the spill and the towing company or other authorized clean up company is notified for clean up at the vehicle or property owners expense or through EMA when there is no responsible party on site.
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    There seems to be a fairly common tone with the small spills*, but you have to make sure you're aware of reportable quantities, EPA, and whatever state environmental authorities. It's kinda like being an EMT and the environment is your pt: all this stuff can get back to you.
    In larger leaks ( semi tractor, etc... ) the transporter or company should have a company that tends to their bigger messes ( digging up contaminated road sides, etc... ). FD, or in LAfireEd's case, PD's concern should be mitigating an emergency or otherwise immediately hazardous coundition**. Beyond that, you become a remediation company...
    The days of the washdown ( without any other sort of interventions ) are over and the rules and hoops that have to be jumped through on larger spills -talking 25 or more gal. - are very much like EMS.


    *We also do absorbant, often some sort of neutralizer for the gas, oil, etc... Usually send the refuse off with the wrecker, as long as it's not more than a trashbag or so full.

    **including protecting waterways, storm drains, etc...

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    We just throw some sawdust on it. It's cheap (we get it for free from local woodworking shops/companies) and it's absorbant. If there's a lot, the wrecker cleans it up, if there's no much we just let it blow away.

    We keep a 55 gallon barrel full at the station and 5 gallon buckets on the trucks. When it's low, we just call whoever we get it from and take a big plastic back to collect it.

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    We have had discussions with LSP on what constitutes a "small spill" that we can handle without having to call either the LSP Haz-Mat Trooper or Sheriff's office Haz-Mat trooper.

    We have been told that a leak requiring under 4-5 bags of speedi-dry without any waterway intrusion of a common fluid such as gasoline, diesel, oil or vehicle fluids can be handled by the FD only and left for either the wrecker company or responsible party to dispose of. Guideline given basically covered all MVAs and partial 18-wheeler saddle tanks leaks.

    Any quantity of speedi-dry beyond that, minor waterway intrusion, or a leak from private to public property, such as a roadway, should require the notification of the Sheriff's Office Haz-Mat Deputy.

    Any incident beyond that initial paragraph on a state highway, interstate or intrusion into a significant waterway should require the notification of the state police. This also includes a major incident on private property with significant ground or air contamination.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 02-21-2010 at 01:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Under state law, the command and mitigation of hazardous materials incidents is the responsibility of the LA State Police.
    I grew up in a small town in Southeast Louisiana and our fire department had a great relationship with the LSP's HazMat team. We were one of the few fire departments in the state with a "dedicated" HazMat team. We trained with and operated with them on a regular basis due to the fact that we had several major roadways in our area and a freeway (all being LSP jurisdication). As a matter of fact, LSP used us as a regional resource whenever a HazMat incident occurred in our corner of the state.

    Although they were always present in areas where they had ultimate jurisdiction, they never come in with a "we are the boss... move over" attitude. They'd often arrive after our command structure was in place and our action plan was developed and would join into our "work in progress". After the mitigation phase was completed, they'd gather the state's resources to resolve the incident until completion and de-escalation.

    They were pleasant to work with and were a great resource to have.
    Last edited by rjtoc2; 02-21-2010 at 01:51 PM.
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    While we haven't had any issues with LSP on haz-mat scenes, our relationship with them has never been better than lukewarm due to some serious run-ins we have had regarding traffic management at fires and MVAs, primarily on I-20.

    Both Bossier City and Shreveport have haz-mat teams composed of personal from engine, truck and rescue companies and rarely get LSP involved. they do not operate a company purely for haz-mat response.

    We are slowing carrying more and more containment materials but we still don't carry level B suits or decon equipment, so I doubt we will ever get to a team status and will be content with the LSP and state contractors handling the incidents for us as it's just not cost effective.

    Honestly, the only reason for the increased number of our members being certified in Operations is the requirement that it is now required to test Firefighter I.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 02-21-2010 at 03:17 PM.

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    In my FD, we too primarily are in the "try not to let it get any worse" business when it comes to fuel spills. We also have the luxury of having our own HazMat team and that is a great resource to have. We are NOT in the "clean-up" business. That is the responsibility of whoever caused the incident.

    We carry absorbent on our fire apparatus as well as some "plug & dike" materials. We try stop the spill or leak from 1) getting worse, and 2) from getting into the environment - sewers, ditches, and etc.

    At a typical MVC, we'll utilize our absorbent to pick up hydrocarbons only. We'll then bag the soiled aborbent into heavy-duty bags and seal them. We'll label the bag with: 1) incident number, 2) incident location, 3) responding fire company, and 4) approximation of how much hydrocarbon was absorbed. We bring the bag back to the fire station and place into a hydrocarbon pick-up container. The Streets Department is responsible for picking up the filled containers and leaving an empty one for us to ensure we always have a place to put our soiled aborbent.

    If the spill is large or has the potential to overwhelm our limited supply of materials on our apparatus (i.e. saddle-bag on an 18-wheeler), we request for our HazMat team to be sent. Upon arrival, the HazMat officer can put alot of resources into play - prodominently city and state stuff. He can request a dump truck full of sand from the Streets Department to make a berm or he can utilize the private sector in the interest of public safety. All of this be billed to the responsible party for reimbursement. If necessary, state resources (or higher) can be requested and utilized based on the incidents escalation and potential.

    All of our fire suppression personnel are trained to the Operations level except our Hazmat folks who are trained to the Technician level.
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    ***The above post (s) is/are MY opinion and do/does not necessarily reflect the views, positions, or opinions of neither my employer nor my IAFF Local.***

    Admit nothing, deny everything, demand proof, and make counter accusations.

    A lack of planning on your behalf does NOT create an emergency on my behalf.

    When all is said and done, alot more is said than done

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    You guys do a lot of extra stuff. Just look over the vehicle, if it's a total just toss down a flare, PRESTO your fuel spill is taken care of and you have a vehicle fire to train on.....

    YES THIS IS A JOKE....

    Around here we use PIGS and Speedy dri or cat litter (not the clumping or scented crap though)
    If it's over 5 gal. call in Haz-Mat. We do have suits and folks trained with them BUT I'd rather go by the instructor at my first Haz-Mat class.

    "You're rolling up to a Haz-Mat scene and not sure what you have, What do you do? I'll tell you, Stop before you pass the first dead cop"...
    Of course when this person talked about doing CPR on an unknown patient it was from a standing position using a foot to do compressions.

    One of the OLD time smoke eaters....

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    I should clarify something. What I posted above is the procedure for small spills, 10 gallons or less.

    Anything larger than 10 gallons, the DNR needs to be notified and then the product will be cleaned up by a contract clean up service at the cost of the spiller.
    Jason Knecht
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    "You're rolling up to a Haz-Mat scene and not sure what you have, What do you do? I'll tell you, Stop before you pass the first dead cop"...
    Good to see that you utilize COP-OLOGICAL INDICATORS in your part of the world too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaladinKnight View Post
    Good to see that you utilize COP-OLOGICAL INDICATORS in your part of the world too.
    We do here too.

    Actually, use the "Rule of Thumb"....If the entire incident can be covered up by your thumb with your arm extended and one eye closed....you are far enough away!!
    Jason Knecht
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    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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