Is Your Septic Company Ready to Handle A Sewage Spill?
Preventing injuries and accidents by following all safety precautions is a necessity when working with any kind of industrial machinery, including used vacuum trucks and used septic trucks as well as many other heavy-duty trucks. Sewage spills are one of the main accidents that can occur when using these trucks and should be prevented in any way possible.
If a spill should happen, what are the most important things that should be known about handling such a development? How the situation should be handled is covered in five steps: securing the area, company notification, containment of material, clean-up, and disinfection. Septic company
- Securing the Area – Regardless of where the site is located, the first thing that should be done is cordon off the spill site so no one can be near or on it. Mark the area off with tape or visually and physically contain the area in some way, since septic spills pose a health threat to anyone who might come in contact with raw sewage material.
- Notification – Once the location is secure from entry by unauthorized personnel, the septic truck company should be called and a report given of the incident so that risk management personnel can contact the necessary health and regulatory authorities to file an official report. Even the smallest spill must be reported and septic truck operators must be informed of which person to contact with pertinent information such as: how it happened, the size of the area affected, and whether or not the spill is near or into water. These calls must be someone other than the vehicle operator who should be tending to the spill itself and not filing reports at this time.
- Containment – Operators should then put on as much safety gear as is carried with the septic truck and get to work containing and cleaning up the area. If the spill is continuing to spread, containment of as much material as possible should be done using sandbags, dirt and other nearby material; unfortunately, such containment material is seldom at the site of a spill, so a diligent effort should be done with available containment materials. Vacuuming up the material is the highest priority at this point in time.
- Cleaning Up – If the cause of the incident seems to be a problem with the equipment, the truck should be fixed if possible so it can be used to siphon up as much of the spilled material as possible. If the cause was due to tank overflow or if the truck is too damaged to be repaired at the scene, a second truck should be immediately requested from the septic truck company. If the amount of the actual spill area is very small, it may be possible to soak it up with powdered limestone shaken onto the area; once the lime has dried, it can be either siphoned up or picked up and disposed as indicated.
- Disinfection – Once as much of the spilled material as possible has been siphoned, the area must be disinfected and sanitized. If the release has taken place on concrete or other non-natural surfaces, it can be done by mixing ¾ cup of bleach with a gallon of water that can be used to scrub the area followed by a good rinse. If the spill is on a natural surface, it will have to be disinfected according to either company policy or the direction of an environmental waste cleanup service. In either case, the area should stay sectioned off until dry; local environmental services personnel can then advise when the area can be used again.
As with any type of hazardous spill or accident, it is very important to make that first report to the septic truck company’s office in order to notify the appropriate environmental agencies, as there are often fines for ignoring such notification. Any personnel assigned to deal with such issues should be trained on handling such phone calls, given a check list to follow, and to only provide requested information without adding anything else. The involved septic truck operators should only speak with company representatives unless advised otherwise by higher management.
It is imperative that all involved in handling such an incident be trained about the same procedure. This will certainly make the whole process easier in general – and result in quicker resolution of the spill itself and returning the involved area to normal functioning as soon as possible!