Identify Hazardous Materials
Hazmat, short for hazardous material, refers to dangerous goods or chemicals. These
materials are found in every day settings and people are often around them, including chlorine to treat our pools or water, or even in household bleach or ammonia for cleaning. This is on a micro scale, but those same chemicals need to be transported via truck, vessel, or rail and that is when large spills could occur. Proper procedures and spill cleanup equipment and absorbents limit the effects of a hazmat spill.
Regulations and safety procedures limit the incidence rate and ensure minimal loss and damage to public property and the environment. Designated Emergency Response Authority is usually responsible for cleaning up a hazmat spill. This may be members of the local fire department, state troopers, Coast Guard, health department, or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) ensure the various CFR is followed and requires all workers to be protected and properly trained.
Hazardous materials or dangerous goods can describe a wide variety of compounds. Chemicals used to purify water (chlorine), fertilize crops (Ammonium nitrates) or prevent pests (insecticides), household cleaners (ammonia), radioactive waste (FUSRAP), hospital waste (biological), and waste from industrial manufacturing (PCB's)can be classed as hazardous materials.
Response team are first to respond in the event of an accident or a spill. They are trained to deal with an incident and will assess the event, don the correct PPE (personal protective equipment) and implement the cleanup. The spill clean up work requires removing the contamination by vacuuming, absorbing, and bioremediating to get the area back to it's original state. Stabilization and control of the site is very important to ensure that a toxin is contained or capped.
Clean up remediation efforts can include incineration, bio-remediating, soil removal and demolition of structures, surface decontamination (cleaning roads, sewers and surface water). There are a number of spill response companies that response to spills and will support or compliment the services of police and firefighters.