When a big spill strikes will you be ready?

What would you do if 7,700 gallons of fuel unexpectedly spilled at your facility? Ellsworth Air Force Base experienced this very scenario in 2016.

“It was about 45 minutes after midnight and close to 20 degrees in the middle of February. A team of maintainers was nearly finished putting fuel in a B-1 when the aircraft experienced a fuel system failure,” says Kevin Goyer, a 28th Civil Engineer Squadron water quality program engineer.

The team responded swiftly to contain the fuel spill, but soon ran through their two dozen PIG Spill Kits (KIT211) designed for use in their flightline vehicles.

Ellsworth Air Force Base had experienced spills of around 1,000 gallons each year, but this was the largest spill they had ever faced. When responders ran out of absorbents they knew they needed a better plan to prepare them for their worst-case scenario. As Goyer described in a recent interview, the situation prompted them to revamp their equipment and training — and Goyer to create the ultimate solution to recurring spills: the SpillRaider.

SpillRaiders are packed with PIG Absorbents.

Since rapid response is critical, Goyer converted six decommissioned 1957-model oil bowser (mobile tank) trailers into spill kits by replacing the oil tanks with PIG Spill Chests and a large construction site toolbox. In the event of a spill, the trailers can be rolled to the site, allowing responders to immediately contain and clean it up.

Goyer equipped the trailers with everything the responders would need to quickly and efficiently clean up large fuel spills, including absorbents, personal protective equipment for 12 people (including PIG foot covers) and a 50-gpm fuel-rated, air-operated pump. Absorbents include six packs of 15” x 20” lightweight Oil-Only Mat Pads, six 30’ x 150’ mediumweight Oil-Only Mat Rolls and six packs of 5” x 20’ Oil-Only Spaghetti Booms, providing each trailer with nearly 642 gallons of absorbency.

“It was my duty to fix this problem and a privilege to work with the many people in [the 28th] MXG and the 28th Mission Support Group who helped me formulate and execute the concept,” Goyer says about the SpillRaider.

Is your facility prepared for big spills?

Preparing for spills is crucial in order to keep workers safe, avoid fines and meet regulations. Spill-prone areas should be equipped with spill kits and stored where they’re visible and easily accessible to responders for fast containment and cleanup.

Because a large or hazardous spill can happen when you least expect it, now is the time to stock up on absorbents and spill kits, review your spill response plan and make sure responders are up-to-date on their training.

This article was originally published on the Ellsworth Air Force Base website and was adapted by New Pig with permission.

Want to build your own high-volume spill response kit? Here’s what Ellsworth Air Force Base packs in the SpillRaider:

15” x 20” Lightweight Oil-Only Mat Pads
30’ x 150’ Mediumweight Oil-Only Mat Rolls
5” x 20’ Oil-Only Spaghetti Booms
Personal Protective Equipment
Other PIG Absorbents