Almost every industrial facility that stores and uses liquids will have to deal with leaks and spills at some point in time, which is why proper preparation is essential. Polluting the soil, stormwater drains, groundwater, and waterways can bear devastating consequences. That being said, being properly prepared to deal with a leak or spill will reduce the impact it has on the personnel, the equipment, the facility, and the environment. Part of the preparation process includes buying a spill kit that is appropriate for the type of liquids you deal with and having them clearly labeled and stored in an easily accessible location.
Generally, spill kits contain items such as disposal bags, absorbent pads, pillows, booms, and gloves. However, worth knowing is that not all spills call for the use of a spill kit. They should only be used for spill response, and small spills of a few liters can be handled by the maintenance crew. Regardless, when buying a spill kit, there are a few factors you need to consider, such as the capacity and the size of the kit. In other words, pick a kit that will allow you to absorb the largest probable spill. The absorbency rate of a spill kit will generally be quoted based on the maximum absorbency of extremely viscous liquids. You need to take this into account and possibly halve the capacity of a spill kit if you’ll need to absorb less viscous liquids like diesel, for example.
Next, you have to consider the materials that the spill kit’s components are made from. Generally, there are two types of absorbents – one of which absorbs liquids like acids, hydrocarbons, water, and degreasers, while the other only absorbs hydrocarbons. Determine which liquids can be spilled and what type of absorbent you need to control and absorb the spill. But chances are, you’ll probably need both types, hence two different kits. General purpose kits are colour-coded blue, hydrocarbon spill kits are colour-coded yellow and chemical spill kits are colour-coded red.
Lastly, when buying a spill kit you need to be mindful of a couple of things. For instance, you should be able to re-order only the items from the spill kit you’ve used. The absorbency rates quoted by the manufacturer should be realistic (you can get this by asking for a demonstration or testing them yourself). Furthermore, ensure that the absorbents in the kit won’t damage your machinery or equipment. And last but not least, the kit should include practical instructions and training on how to use it properly.