Oil Spills

Spill, Prevention, Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) Plan

EHS has prepared a plan to deal with campus oil spills, as required by regulations of the federal government. This plan is commonly referred to as a Spill, Prevention, Control and Countermeasures Plan, or SPCC for short. If you want information about Chemical and Biological Spills, please visit our web page on Chemical and Biological Spills.


What constitutes an oil?

Under the Clean Water Act, the definition of oil includes oil of any kind and any form, such as petroleum and non-petroleum oils (crude oil, refined petroleum products, gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, kerosene, edible and non-edible animal and vegetable oil, mineral oil, and other non-petroleum oils).


What is a release event?

A release event is described as a discharge of oil in harmful quantities that: violates applicable water quality standards; caused a film, sheen, or discoloration of the water surface; or cause a sludge or emulsion deposit beneath the water surface.


What is the role of EHS?

The University's Department of Environmental Health & Safety is charged with environmental compliance and response to oil spills. EHS maintains trained personnel and adequate supplies to respond to oil incidents. Common incidents occur in interior locations or are associated with vehicles. Some of these incidents include report of an oil sheen on storm water runoff from surface parking lots. Other incidents are spills onto soil without release to surface waters; EHS coordinates remediation activities as appropriate. EHS is also responsible for all required notification and reports to regulatory agencies.


Potential release sources:

  • Leaking underground storage tanks
  • Leaking above ground storage tanks
  • Piping associated with tanks
  • Leaking from tank filling operations
  • Leakage from fryers associated with campus dining services
  • Leakage from oil-filled transformers
  • Leakage from elevator hydraulic oil reserves
  • Leakage from new or used drums of oil in storage for use, recycling, or disposal
  • Leakage from vehicles
  • Leakage from miscellaneous campus sources


If you detect a release:

Upon observing a release, personnel on the scene should take immediate steps to contain the spill and prevent product from reaching a drain (e.g., floor drain or storm water drain), then immediately call the Environmental Health & Safety 24-hour emergency telephone number below. Both phone numbers connect with EHS personnel who will initiate the appropriate response and make the necessary regulatory contacts.
Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.: (573) 882-7018
Outside the office hours: (573) 882-7201 (MUPD will contact EHS personnel.)

The spill containment action may require the manual application of absorbent materials to prevent product from reaching the drains. Site personnel are committed to performing spill prevention activities to support this plan, unless an unsafe condition has been created by a spill. In the event that there is an immediate danger to human health, site personnel will contact 911 and obtain assistance from the Columbia Fire Department.


When reporting a spill, the following information should be supplied:

  • Name of Person Making Call
  • Material and Quantity Involved
  • Current Condition of Spill
  • Health and/or Fire Hazard
  • Building Location
  • Location of Spill in Building
  • Telephone Number for Personnel Observing Scene
  • Evacuation Details

If you have questions please contact Jon White at (573) 882-6256.