Friday, April 16, 2010
What to do in case of an oil spill?
The sooner the spill is cleaned up, the lower the costs, is the rule of thumb according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)’s “Homeowner Oil Spill Cleanup Guide.” A 2001 survey of 510 homeowners who dealt with heating system oil leaks showed that most leaks that were cleaned up within four months cost $20,000 or less, while clean-up for a spill that had seeped into the groundwater cost an average of $90,000.
What steps should be taken after an oil leak? First, call the local Fire Department (911) and the DEP reporting line (1-888-304-1133) to notify them that oil has been released into the environment. Homeowners are also advised to call their oil companies to send a technician to help shut off valves and stop the oil leak. A homeowner’s insurance company should also be notified in order to send a claims adjuster to inspect the site. Usually homeowners will be required to hire a Licensed Site Professional (LSP) to supervise the cleanup and ensure they meet state requirements.
Avoid exposure to the oil vapors and ventilate any area in the home where an oil odor is detected. Short-term exposure can cause eye irritation, headache, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness or disorientation. For more information, see: www.mass.gov/dep/cleanup.
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