The City’s Role
The federal Clean Water Act requires cities to set rules and regulations to protect the city's sewer and stormwater systems and its watersheds. Environmental Services works with business and industry to meet these requirements and prevent pollution.
Rules and Regulations
Portland City Code requires immediate notification to 503-823-7180 in the event of a spill or illicit discharge that impacts the city's sewer or stormwater systems.
Portland City Code 17.39 prohibits the discharge of many substances to the stormwater system. Code requires prior approval for many discharges to the sanitary sewer system. Illicit discharges may result in investigations, issuance of penalties, and required corrective actions.
Is My Business or Industry Required to Have a Spill Response Plan?
Oil, Oil Products, and Hazardous Materials
Owners of certain facilities must prepare an Environmental Protection Agency-required Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan. A plan may be required if your facility stores, processes, or refines oil and oil products and meets one or more of the criteria below.
- Aboveground storage capacity equal to or greater than 1,320 gallons or a single container in excess of 660 gallons.
- Underground storage capacity in excess of 42,000 gallons.
- A reasonable expectation that spilled oil could reach any body of water in and around the United States or adjoining shorelines.
For more information, refer to the Code of Federal Regulations 40 CFR 112.
Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 340-108, Oil and Hazardous Material Spills and Releases, further specifies spill reporting requirements, clean-up standards, and liability associated with a spill or threatened spill involving oil or hazardous materials.
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
Facilities that hold National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Industrial Stormwater Discharge Permits are required to prepare spill prevention and response procedures and describe the procedures in the facility’s Storm Water Pollution Control Plan.
Portland City Code Requirement
How to Make a Plan
Prevention first. Start by thinking about what you do at your facility and where spills could occur. Then think about what procedures need to be in place to prevent potential spills.
Plan your response. Next, think about how your business would respond quickly if a spill occurs.
Include spill reporting requirement. Determine who to call and when. See reporting requirements below.
Since each facility is different, think about the spill prevention and response procedures that will work for your site. The recommendations below can help guide the development of the plans and procedures for your site, but they do not replace any of the requirements of federal or state regulations.
Recommended Parts of a Spill Prevention and Response Plan
- Company name and address
- Name and contact information for the employee in charge of spill response coordination
- Owner’s name and address
- Types, quantities, and location of chemicals stored and used onsite
- A site plan with the following features and locations identified:
- Petroleum and chemical storage areas
- Storm drains
- Storm drain discharge location (i.e., the name of the river)
- Control valves, blind sumps, alarm systems, or other spill control devices
- Spill prevention procedures
- Spill response and clean-up procedures
- Spill reporting procedures
Spill Prevention Procedures
- Place spill kits (see recommendations below) in areas that are readily accessible by employees and contractors.
- Post spill response and notification procedures throughout the facility, particularly at fueling, secondary containment, and material-handling areas.
- Train employees regularly on spill prevention, response, and notification procedures.
- Install “Dump No Waste, Drains to Stream” or similar decals next to catch basin grates. A stencil to label the pavement next to the grate can also be used.
- Inspect chemical and petroleum storage areas and spill kits regularly.
Spill Response and Clean-up Procedures
- Clean up the spill immediately.
- Use dry cleanup methods.
- Do not use emulsifiers or dispersants on spilled material. Chemicals should never enter the storm drain.
- Never wash a spill into a storm drain.
- Report applicable spills to the local and state government officials as soon as it is safe.
Spill Reporting/Notification Procedures
Report the following:
- Any spill that has the potential to reach the city's sewer or stormwater systems must be immediately reported to the City of Portland's 24-hour hotline.
- Report the following types of spills to federal, state, and local authorities:
- Any amount of oil to waters of the State or city storm system
- Oil spills on land in excess of 42 gallons (regardless of whether it made it to a water body).
- Hazardous materials that are equal to, or greater than, the quantity listed in the Code of Federal Regulations, 40 CFR Part 302, List of Hazardous Substances and Reportable Quantities.
Call the following agencies to report a spill:
- Oregon Emergency Response System: 800-452-0311
- National Response Center: 800-424-8802
- City of Portland Spill Hotline: 503-823-7180
Recommended Items for Spill Kits
- Absorbent material (kitty litter)
- Absorbent pads (including universal pads for non-petroleum liquids)
- Absorbent socks/booms
- Personal protective equipment (safety glasses, gloves, etc.)
- Drain covers
- Portable containment booms
- Broom and dustpan
- Liquid or granular materials for neutralizing acids or alkaline liquids
- Overpack drums (to contain leaking containers)
- Plastic bags for disposal of cleanup material
Spill kit contents should be appropriate for the type and quantities of chemicals or petroleum stored at the facility.