Spill preparedness: Oil and hazardous substances

Four people in orange safety vests, in a boat on the Mississippi River. Two people work to place an oil-containing boom in the water.In Minnesota, handlers of oil and hazardous substances are required to prepare for potential spills and take steps to prevent them. The requirements are spelled out in Minn. Stat. 115E (often called the “Spill Bill”). Some key components of spill preparedness:

  • Maps — Maintain current maps of your facility that show the location of buildings, oil and chemical storage, process or transfer areas, drainage pathways on the site, storm and sanitary sewer inlets, lines, outlets, and surface waters.
  • Planning — Create an all-hazard plan that consolidates all required emergency planning for your facility, such as a spill prevention, control, and countermeasures (SPCC) plan; a prevention and response plan (as mandated by the Minnesota Spill Bill); or a response plan to comply with the federal Oil Pollution Act. Plan your responses to potential environmental emergencies, and how to use your staff and hired contractors effectively and efficiently. Assess what your company needs and make the necessary provisions and agreements beforehand, not at the time of an incident.
  • Material management and storage — Review how your company stores and handles its chemicals. Inspect the dispensing equipment and containment construction. Make improvements as problems arise. Understand the characteristics, behaviors, and safety precautions associated with material stored at your facility. If a spill of one or more of these materials occurs, know the best containment and cleanup strategies to use.
  • Train staff and conduct exercises — Train your staff on hazard recognition, response plan implementation, safety, cleanup procedures, and reporting. Once staff are trained, conduct table-top and field exercises to practice their training. Invite local and state responders to practice with your staff. After an exercise, evaluate your company’s response and make improvements.

The “Spill Bill," requires the following entities to prepare written prevention and response plans:

  • Cargo water vessels
  • Trucks or cargo trailers transporting more than 10,000 gallons per month
  • Above-ground storage tank facilities storing 10,000 or more gallons
  • Railroad rolling stock transporting more than 100,000 gallons per month
  • Pipelines transporting more than 100,000 gallons per month
  • Facilities that transfer more than 1,000,000 gallons per month

Response plans must be updated every three years, or earlier in the event of a significant spill, a change in facility operation or ownership, changes in national or area plans, or changes in the capabilities or role of a person named in the plan.

Spill response preparedness

Response plans

Contingency or response plans describe how local, state, and federal organizations in a specific area will coordinate in the event of an oil spill or other release of hazard substances.

Preparedness organizations