Four Things You Might Not Know About Hazmat Spills

Here’s a quiz for anyone whose company is at risk for spills of hazardous materials or other regulated substances at facilities or on the road. Try your hand at these frequently asked questions related to environmental spills?

  • Does insurance cover fines and penalties for late spill reports?
  • If my driver wasn’t at fault in an accident, am I still liable for the spill?
  • Why do I need Spill Center™ services if my company doesn’t haul hazmat?
  • How can Spill Center save me money after an environmental spill?

Insurance Coverage
The answer to the question about insurance coverage surprises most people: It’s NO. Insurance companies do not cover fines and penalties for failure to comply with incident regulatory reporting. Spill generators are required to file reports within certain time frames to the jurisdiction in which the spill occurred in order to avoid fines and penalties. Nearly 30,000 federal, state, provincial and local jurisdictions in North America require incident reports after spills of hazardous materials, diesel fuel and other regulated substances. Failure to report or reporting late can be very costly. That’s why it makes sense to sign on with Spill Center. We know who requires reports and when.

Liability for Spills
Say a drunk driver slams into your company’s truck, causing the saddle tank to rupture, releasing diesel fuel onto the road and soil. Even though your driver was not at fault in the accident, the liability for the spill is still your company’s. The environmental and spill liability laws state that no matter who causes the release, the party who has care, custody and control of the material at the time of the loss is the one legally responsible to respond, contain and report the spill, remediate the site and safely and legally dispose of the contaminated soil and material. And that needs to happen fast in order to contain your costs and limit your liability. Spill Center is on the job 24/7, ready to coordinate the response, handle spill reporting and bring the incident to closure.

Not All Spills Are Hazmat
More than half of all over-the-road releases involve the diesel fuel in truck saddle tanks. By Spill Center’s estimate, it’s about an even split between broken fuel crossover lines and saddle tank punctures. Most jurisdictions do not distinguish between diesel fuel and hazardous material. They view them the same in environmental spills. The average amount of fuel spilled in a saddle-tank release is 104 gallons. The per-incident cost can exceed $15,000. So even if you don’t haul hazmat, the fuel in your trucks is regulated by the environmental authorities just the same. It requires fast action to minimize the cost and liability.

Saving Money After Spills
By registering as a Spill Center client, you improve your preparedness to respond to spills and pollution events of all kinds quickly, professionally and cost-effectively. Spill Center compliance associates have handled spills in nearly every jurisdiction in the country, and we have learned what works and what saves money for our clients. We have developed a system to control costs and limit liability, and we apply it to the management of every incident. We can bring the right resources to bear quickly for a faster response to environmental spills. And we can audit invoices from contractors and emergency responders to ensure our clients are not overcharged. Our job is to keep the spill’s impact and your costs to a minimum because the faster and more professional the response, the less environmental damage and less costs that result.

For more information about Spill Center’s program of services, visit our website, Or call me at 978-568-1922. Email me at I’ll be glad to discuss ways that Spill Center can improve your preparedness to handle spill emergencies, while containing costs and minimizing any third-party liability claims.