Are You Prepared for a Hazardous Material Spill?

  • Keep copies of SDS for all chemicals used and stored on your premises in a central location, not in the actual pesticide storage, along with an inventory of all hazardous materials. Create the inventory template included in the My Farm app;
  • Clean and inspect equipment routinely for damage that could cause a leak including pumps, hoses and connections. Keep a record of inspections and repairs;
    • If you must store pesticides, make sure it is in a separate, secured facility that is properly ventilated;
    • Containers must be labelled with a signed age tag date and indicate the storage of pesticides;
    • Check bulk fertilizer storage structures frequently for damage or leaks; and purchase only the amount of pesticide you need to reduce the amount stored on your property; and
    • After using application equipment, ensure valves are closed, hoses empty, and pumps are turned off.


For fuel tanks, the Liquid Fuel Handling Code requires records be kept for all tanks. Regularly checking your fuel storages can alert you to a minor leak before it becomes a major spill. Inform your fuel supplier to fix or replace any leaking storage tanks. You can prevent fuel spills by:

  • Installing fuel dispensers that automatically shut off when the tank is full or when the handle is released;
  • Securing and locking tanks and nozzles when not in use;
  • Using only approved containers to transport fuel;
  • Securing fuel containers during transport;
  • Protecting all fuel storage tanks and piping against rust and vehicle impact; and
  • Providing secondary containment for fuel tanks (double wall tank or installation of dyke system).

Remember when preparing your on farm site map, note the location of fire extinguishers and spill kits.

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Managing the Event

If a spill occurs, call the Spills Action Centre and your municipality. If there is personal injury, explosion or fire, or there is a risk of explosion or fire, call 911.

Avoid using saw dust to contain and clean-up a spill as strong oxidizing chemicals can combust and become a fire hazard. Have an emergency spill kit that is mounted on a ready-to-move pallet for fast and easy transportation to the spill site.

Emergency Spill Kit Should Contain:

  • 4 bags of fine sand, cat litter, vermiculite, etc. (to absorb liquids)
  • 4 straw bales for making a barrier
  • 50 empty sandbags
  • Shovel, hoe, and rake
  • 1 garbage can
  • 1 plastic drum (45 gal)
  • Garbage bags (to hold contaminated materials)
  • Plastic tarp (could be used to line a containment basin)
  • 100 feet of rope
  • Duct tape
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Safety glasses, chemical resistant rubber gloves, coveralls, and hard hat.

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Hazardous Materials Spill Response Procedures

Use your Emergency Contact List of who to call and follow your General Proceduresas well as the following:

If 911 is called, tell the dispatcher the nature of the spill and what is the immediate response that is needed.

Render first-aid and emergency medical treatment to the best of your ability and training. Do not move victim(s) unless you must do so for their safety and to prevent further injury. Refer to Personal Injury Emergency Response Procedure for more details.

  • Collect Spill containment kit and personal protection equipment stored; and
  • Collect SDS records stored.


Steps or Activities that should be taken Immediately for Recovery: 

Stop the source of the spill by turning off pumping equipment or plugging leaks;

  • Set up barriers to keep people and animals out. Describe what to use: do not attempt to clean the spill unless trained to do so;
  • Identify the product and read the SDS. Take proper safety precautions, according to the label and SDS, before trying to contain the spill;
  • If you are appropriately trained, contain the spill with available equipment, e.g. pads, booms, absorbent powder, etc. in accordance with the instructions described in the SDS;
  • Wear protective gloves, safety glasses, and other personal protective equipment as recommended on the label and SDS; and
  • Liquids should be covered with a thick layer of absorbent material, e.g. soil, vermiculite, cat litter, etc., and given time to be absorbed.

For large volume liquid spills, contain the spill by constructing a sand berm with a loader or use bales of straw to block the spill. Dig a dike or ditch to block the flow path and trap the spilled material. Block drains, water courses and plug tile drains. For severe spills, crush or cut off field tiles in the area of the spill using heavy equipment.

For dust, granular or powder spills, limit air movement and sweep or shovel into waste drum and seal.

Depending on the scale and location of the spill, contaminated soil may have to be removed with a loader or other equipment and applied elsewhere. Consult with spill experts for correct decontamination and disposal methods. As appropriate and when it is safe to do so, take photographs of the incident scene, damage,etc. and document actions including timeline.

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