Crest for Policies

Policy E4
Policy Name: Chemical Spill Discharge Response
Responsibility for Maintenance: Sustainability and Environmental Health and Safety

Date of Most Recent Changes: January 31, 2011

I. Policy Statement 

Spills and discharges of chemicals, including petroleum products, have the potential to cause harm to human health and the environment if appropriate procedures are not implemented as soon as possible following the spill. Onondaga Community College seeks to minimize the potential for spills and discharges through best management practices, and strives to ensure compliance with all applicable environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, including those related to spill management.

II. Reason for Policy 

To ensure that personnel and outside contractors who work with chemicals, including petroleum products, are aware of the appropriate procedures to implement in the event of a spill.

III. Applicability of the Policy 

The policy applies to all personnel and outside contractors using chemicals at the College, and to all departments using, handling, storing or disposing of chemicals, including petroleum.

IV. Related Documents 

  • 40 CFR Part 112 – Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures
  • Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan

V. Contacts 

 Subject   Office Name Title or Position  Telephone Number  Email/URL 
SPCC Coordinator
Facilities Assistant Director
(315) 498-2179 [email protected] 

Spill Emergency Response

Campus Safety and Security
  (315) 498-2311 [email protected] 
Spill reporting
Office of Sustainability and Environmental Health and Safety Director (315) 498-2847[email protected]

VI. Definitions 

 Term  Definition
DEC New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
U.S. EPA  United States Environmental Protection Agency

VII. Procedures 

Precautionary Measures. The time to prepare to handle a spill is well before it occurs. Appropriate precautions and the proper equipment will alleviate many of the potential complications associated with the spill of a chemical. Implementation of the following practices, to the extent practicable, will decrease the likelihood of a spill or the resultant impact if a spill occurs:

  • Substitute a less hazardous chemical, procedure, or piece of equipment.
  • Always store chemicals in containers with closed caps.
  • Use secondary containment whenever possible. Trays and wash basins work well. Plastic bottles should be used when possible.
  • Do not store chemicals on the floor, on desks, or above eye level.
  • Check shelving capacity and ensure that overloading or overcrowding does not occur.
  • Practice good housekeeping. Clutter increases the likelihood of a spill or accident.
  • Minimize excess chemical storage. Purchase only the amount needed.

Spill Kits and Clean Up Supplies. Anticipate chemical spills by having appropriate cleanup and safety equipment on hand. These cleanup supplies should be consistent with the hazards and quantities of substances used. Commercial clean-up kits are available that have instructions, absorbents, neutralizers, and protective equipment. These kits should be located strategically around areas where chemicals are used, stored or handled.

Spill Response Procedures. If a spill does occur, the following procedures should be used:

  • Contact Campus Safety and Security at 498-2311 from a secure location if there is a fire or other imminent threat.
  • Notify all personnel in the area of the spill or release and adjacent areas.
  • If the spill or release presents a possibility for injury to human health or the environment, immediately evacuate the area.
  • Pull a fire alarm if building evacuation is necessary.
  • Do not touch light switches or electrical equipment.
  • Follow directions from emergency personnel.
  • If spilled material is flammable, extinguish flames and all other sources of ignition.
  • Maintain ventilation.
  • If it can be done safely, obtain a copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) to review applicable spill response procedures.
  • If it can be performed safely, protect the life and health of persons in the area, but do not do so if it will jeopardize your safety. 
  • Do not expose yourself or allow others to be exposed to any unknown substances.
  • Use caution and remember that toxic substances may have no odor or other warning properties at air concentrations that can cause severe health damage.
  • For extremely minor spills which do not present any potential for harm to human health or the environment, utilize appropriate measures to contain the spill.

Spill Reporting. Facilities and/or the Office of Sustainability and Environmental Health and Safety will be responsible for making required notification(s) to regulatory agencies, whether the DEC or the U.S. EPA. Such notification(s) will be made in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.


Approved by OCC Board of Trustees April 3, 2006

Updated and approved by the President January 31, 2011