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Emergency Response and Removal

Report Spills to:

EPA Region 5 - 312-353-2318

Both the National Response Center and the Region 5 Emergency Response Branch maintain 24-hour spill notification telephone numbers for reporting hazardous material or petroleum releases.

The Superfund Emergency Response Program provides quick responses to immediate threats from hazardous substances. The Program's first priority is to eliminate dangers to the public -- to make sites safe for those who live or work nearby. Emergency response actions are quick, relatively low-cost activities that address substantial threats from hazardous substances. Typical situations requiring emergency response actions include chemical fires or explosions, threats to people from exposure to hazardous substances, or contamination of drinking water supplies. While threats confronted by the emergency response program vary greatly in size, nature, and location, there is a common element

The Emergency Response Branch in Region 5 receives about 3,400 spill notifications per year from industries, businesses, government agencies and the public. Approximately 45% of the notifications involve oil spills; 20% involve hazardous substance releases, and 35% involve the release of other substances or materials.

The majority of the reported spills involve small quantities of material, which are effectively handled by local fire departments, emergency response personnel and by responsible parties. Small spills are quickly cleaned up and normally have little or no impact on the community or surrounding environment. State and federal responders become involved in response operations for spills or releases which present significant risks to human health or the environment. Federal responders, called On-Scene Coordinators (OSCs), become involved where major releases of hazardous materials occur. Such releases might include truck or train accidents with chemical spills; fires involving hazardous materials; leaking or abandoned drums, tanks or vats with toxic materials; tire fires; oil spills or oil discharges into rivers or lakes, etc. Typical response operations last from one to three days, with cleanup costs normally under $100,000.

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