Good Housekeeping BMP part 3: Spill Prevention & Control

The following is part of an ongoing Erosion and Sediment Control Plan in Hawaii series. I go through the Construction BMP checklist on page 2 of Appendix C (Construction Site BMPs Inspection Checklist for CCH Category 1A, 1B, 2, 3, and 4 and Trenching Projects). The series includes unofficial observations, explanations, and summaries by ESCP Coordinator Wendi Lau.

What kind of fluids require special handling and storage?

  • Oil
  • Paint
  • Chemicals
  • Solvents
  • Fuel

If these fluids do spill, stop seepage into the water table, nearby storm drains, or waterways by absorbing, scooping up, and discarding as much as possible.

Smart prevention vs. messy, expensive clean-up

Preventing a spill is more important than handling one after it occurs. Prevent spills by storing barrels away from the construction entrance and anywhere they might be knocked over.

Use double containment systems. For example:

  1. storing barrels on a spill palate (looks like a giant Belgian waffle)
  2. inside of a shipping container.
Spill palate from Denios (click on picture to go to site). Pictured is an example, not an endorsement.

The spill palate should be able to hold at least 1-1/2x the volume of the largest container. An alternative to commercially produced spill palates is a large wooden box lined with plastic.

Cover or roof these fluid containers to reduce rusting and sun damage to the container. Salty, wet, sunny Hawaii weather is unfriendly to plastic and metal barrels, and increases the chance of breakage and spills.

Storing containers inside the garage acts as secondary containment. Using something with a lip would be better for containing spills.

Equip and use spill kits

Construction projects using hazardous materials must have a fully equipped spill kit or spill center onsite, labeled with a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). Use the spill kit items to contain any spills:

These items are for spill kit use only! Otherwise, something might not be there for an emergency clean-up. Rushing around for missing supplies could be unsafe and result in a larger, more expensive mess.

Report the incident per state and federal requirements and replace the spill kit supplies as soon as possible. Amend the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) if needed.

Smart material delivery and storage is a big part of spill prevention.

Next: Good Housekeeping part 4 – Solid Waste Management

Featured photo by Chris Jones/