5 Common Causes of Environmental Spills



Environmental spills are a big problem. Whether a spill involves a few gallons of a commercial chemical or thousands of gallons of crude oil, the natural environment as well as people, animals, and plant life can be affected for years.

Shield Engineering’s Action Environmental Group specializes in spill response management services for contamination releases both large and small. Prevention, though, is always the best practice. Here are five common causes of environmental contamination that can almost always be avoided.

Improper Storage

The way chemicals, fuels, and other sensitive materials are stored directly impacts their risk for spillage. It’s imperative that controlled materials always be stored in compliance with all state and federal regulations to avoid both costly fines and disastrous accidents. Improperly stored materials (such as those left in an environment that’s not temperature controlled, for example) can leak, become toxic, and even explode.

Improper Movement

There’s no time in a chemical compound’s life more vulnerable than when it’s being moved. During shipping, during the inventory process, and even before and after use: these are all periods in which careful attention must be paid to the way a material is being handled and controlled. Common causes of accidents while moving chemicals can include spills, cracked containers, and even mixing of incompatible chemicals.

Improper Disposal

Any facility that works with controlled substances such as industrial chemicals and/or petroleum must comply with a litany of regulations related to disposal. These regulations set standards , for how the material can be stored, and even how it must be disposed . Improper disposal runs the risk of contaminating groundwater and soil, both of which require complex cleanup efforts to remediate.

Untrained Staff

Most unintentional environmental spills occur because of human error. Untrained or improperly trained staff run the risk of impacting wildlife, groundwater, and even harming themselves and others when they’re allowed to handle controlled chemical products. Regardless of involvement, from routine maintenance activities to shipping and handling, anyone coming in contact with a controlled material should be up-to-date on best-practices within their industry.

“Acts of God”

Occasionally, spills happen within unpreventable circumstances such as during a 100-year flood or after a vehicular accident. While no one can predict these kinds of incidents, taking every conceivable precaution to over-protect vulnerable facilities, storage containers, and particularly sensitive materials is usually worth the resources.

Action Environmental understands the unique challenges that come with handling controlled materials. From industrial hygiene to environmental engineering, our team offers a wide array of services designed to prevent and/or remediate hazardous environmental spills.

To speak to an Action Environmental team member, reach out using our online contact form.
Call us today: 800-395-5220

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