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What to Do After You Buy a Spill Kit

A spill kit is something you buy and hope you never have to use. But being ready for a spill doesn't begin and end with just buying a spill kit. You need to know what’s in it and how to use it, so here are some tips to help you get started.

First, find out where you’re most likely to have a spill and put your kit there. Make sure you store it where you can see it and get to it easily. For more help with finding a good location, check out our post on where to place your kit.

Next, open your kit to familiarize yourself with each product and read the instructions. PIG Spill Kits are packed with socks, booms, mats, pillows or loose absorbents for containing and cleaning up a spill. We also pack our kits in the order you’ll need each absorbent for the quickest response, so be sure to put everything back the way you found it.

Then you should plan out who will respond to spills and how they will do it. You can purchase our Spill Response Tactics training for complete instructions on how to respond to spills.

You can also follow these basic spill response tips:

1. Confine the Spill

First, create a barrier around the outside of the spill area with the socks or booms. This will keep the spill from spreading and lessen the impact to the environment and your coworkers. Place the socks or booms a few inches outside of the spill area to give yourself time to dike the perimeter and prevent the spill from saturating the barrier and breaking through.

For spills on water, booms should be placed downstream from the spill’s origin. Position them with enough slack to allow them to float freely and for liquids to collect behind them. You can also position booms at a slight angle from the flow to help channel liquids toward recovery areas.

Sock or boom ends should be overlapped about 4"–6" to the inside of the spill flow. When the flow of the liquid is heavy or the terrain is uneven or sloped, you may need multiple layers of socks or booms to create an effective barrier.

2. Stop the Source

After the spill is confined, shut down the source. This could mean shutting off an open valve, placing a leaking drum on its side with the hole facing up or plugging a leak. Stopping the source will reduce the overall impact of the spill, provide a safer working environment for responders and allow for a quicker, more effective response.

3. Clean Up the Mess

Use the absorbent mats, pillows or loose absorbent in the kit to clean up, working from the outside to the inside of the spill. Use mats for quick absorbency, maximum spill coverage and for wiping up any residue that may be left on the surface. Use pillows to soak up larger volumes of liquids. Loose absorbent provide bulk absorbency and are great for removing spilled liquid that finds its way into cracks and crevices on rough surfaces.

4. Dispose of Used Absorbents

When the spill is under control and the liquid is absorbed, remove the saturated absorbents, place them in the yellow temporary disposal bags provided in your PIG Spill Kit and secure them with the plastic ties. If your kit was packed in a UN Rated container, you can use it to ship the absorbent waste for disposal.

All absorbents take on the properties of the liquids they absorb, so be sure to handle, store, transport and dispose of them the same way you would the liquid. You also need to dispose of your used absorbents in accordance with all local, state and federal regulations.

Spills happen fast and without warning. Having a spill kit at hand and learning these simple techniques will help you respond quickly and reduce the impact.