Master Guide to Spill Containment

Spill containment is essential to managing any hazardous material to avoid potential harm to the environment and human health. Therefore, it is crucial to have a well-organized plan with the necessary tools and equipment to mitigate the damage.

Impact Absorbents is a well-known manufacturer and seller of highly absorbent spill cleanup solutions. Since 1992, we have provided high-quality spill response solutions for various liquids, chemicals, and spill types. Our specialty granular absorbents set us apart due to innovation and response to an ever-changing industry!

Types of Spills

Different types of spills require specific cleanup and containment methods. Some of the most common types of industrial spills include the following:

Oil Spill

Accidents in the oil and gas industry, such as pipeline ruptures or tanker accidents, can lead to oil spills. These can have disastrous consequences for the environment and local communities. Furthermore, these spills can be particularly challenging to contain and clean due to the volume of oil that can be released into the surroundings.

Chemical Spill

Chemical spills are among the most dangerous spill types — whether in manufacturing plants, research labs, or transportation accidents. Depending on the type of chemical involved, these spills can be toxic, corrosive, or even explosive.

Biohazard Spill

These spills are associated with biological materials like blood, bodily fluids, and other infectious substances. Biohazard spills typically occur in healthcare settings or research facilities and require specialized cleanup procedures to prevent the spread of disease.

Water Spill

Spills that impact bodies of water can have serious environmental consequences, as they can contaminate water supplies and harm aquatic life. Water spills can happen in various settings, from industrial plants to residential areas.

Food Spill

Although not as dangerous as other types of spills, food spills can create safety hazards in the food service industry. For example, spilling food on the floor can create a slippery surface, leading to falls and injuries.

Best Practices for Spill Containment

Following the best practices in spill containment and cleanup is essential to prevent and effectively contain spills. Here are some of the top approaches to consider:

1. Conduct a Hazard Assessment

A hazard assessment identifies the hazardous compounds used or kept in the facility. This includes the possible dangers connected with each substance and the likelihood and effects of a spill.

2. Develop a Spill Response Plan

A spill response plan should include procedures for reporting spills, identifying the source, containment, and cleanup. Employees should be trained on the protocols, and regular drills should be conducted to ensure compliance and preparedness.

3. Invest in Quality Spill Containment Equipment

Spill containment equipment should be designed to contain the specific hazardous materials used or stored in the facility. It should also be made of durable materials that can withstand exposure to hazardous materials.

4. Regularly Inspect and Maintain Equipment

Inspecting and maintaining spill containment equipment is essential to ensure it remains in good working condition. They should be checked for wear and tear, corrosion, and other damage. Any damaged equipment should be repaired or replaced immediately.

5. Implement Good Cleaning Practices

Good cleaning and organization practices can help prevent spills by reducing clutter and storing hazardous materials properly. This includes keeping work areas neat, properly labeling containers, and storing hazardous materials in designated areas.

Spill Containment Materials

Selecting the right spill containment material is crucial to ensure a smooth and effective cleanup. The most common material options include the following:

Polyethylene Spill Containment

Polyethylene spill containment uses polyethylene plastic as its primary material. It is a durable and lightweight plastic resistant to corrosion, chemicals, and impact. It is also easy to handle and install, making it a popular choice for spill containment systems. Polyethylene spill containment can come in pallets, basins, trays, or drums.

The following are the benefits of using polyethylene spill containment:

  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • Resistant to corrosion and chemicals
  • Affordable
  • Low maintenance
  • Can be easily transported and relocated
  • Environmentally friendly

Steel Spill Containment

Steel is a strong, long-lasting metal that withstands high temperatures, pressure, and impact. Steel spill containment devices include tanks, pallets, and drums.

Some of the benefits of steel spill containment include the following:

  • Extremely durable and long-lasting
  • Suitable for extreme temperatures
  • High load capacity
  • Resistant to UV radiation
  • Can withstand impact and pressure
  • Low risk of puncture or tears

Spill Containment Regulations

Various regulatory agencies establish spill containment regulations to ensure that businesses and industries handling hazardous materials comply with safety standards. Here are some of the rules that companies must follow:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule

Certain facilities are required to develop and implement an SPCC plan to prevent oil spills and have measures in place to respond to spills.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act outlines requirements for managing hazardous waste, including spill prevention and containment measures.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard

This policy states that employers must inform employees about hazardous chemicals in the workplace, including proper handling and storage procedures.

Department of Transportation (DOT) Hazardous Materials Regulations

These regulations govern the transportation of hazardous materials and require proper packaging and labeling to prevent spills during transport.

State and Local Regulations

Many states and localities have spill containment regulations, which may include specific requirements for spill response planning, containment equipment, and reporting.

Factors To Consider When Choosing a Spill Containment System

Selecting the right spill containment system for your business can be challenging. Here are some factors to consider:

Type of Hazardous Material

Different materials require different types of containment systems. For example, a spill containment system designed for chemicals may not be suitable for oil spills.

Spill Size

A small spill may be contained by a simple absorbent pad, but a larger spill may require a more comprehensive containment system.


If you are dealing with hazardous materials in an area with heavy foot traffic, you will need a spill containment system that is easy to see and access. In contrast, choosing a fixed system may be more cost-effective if it is in an area that is out of the way.


Different countries have different regulations when it comes to spill containment systems. Therefore, ensuring that your chosen system meets all relevant laws in your country is essential.


When considering your budget, you must ensure you get the best value for your money without compromising quality or safety. Thus, it is important to factor in the cost of maintenance and replacement of the spill containment system over its lifespan.

Ease of Use

Your spill containment system should be easy to set up and deploy and not require extensive training or specialized equipment. This reduces response time and minimizes the risk of human error during an emergency.

Rely on Impact Absorbents for Spill Containment Solutions!

Impact Absorbents has been a trusted manufacturer and supplier of highly absorbent and effective materials for spill cleaning for over 30 years! We offer high-quality, custom-tailored solutions for spill control and prevention to solve our customers’ unique needs in various industries.

Contact us to learn more about our products and services! We will gladly discuss how we can help you run your business more safely and effectively.

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