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Emergency Services ‘Increasingly Charging’ for Spill Clean-Up

Budgetary belt-tightening is prompting an increasing number of fire services and other emergency responders to start levying clean-up charges on companies spilling hazardous materials, according to environmental claims management specialist Spill Center.
Many states and municipalities have statutes on the books that allow for the recovery of “necessary and reasonable” costs of spill response, according Spill Center. But, in the past, it has been common practice for emergency services to waive this bill and to provide clean-up, in most cases, at no cost to those responsible, Spill Center says.
Now, fire departments in places including New Jersey and Massachusetts have started to bill for this service, the company says.

Union Township, N.J., recently adopted an ordinance that for the first time enables the township to bill trucking companies and others responsible for hazmat spills. The Union Township ordinance allows for recovery of costs for personnel, including workers’ compensation, benefits and administrative time; equipment and materials such as fire suppression foam and chemical agents; and protective clothing and gear used at the scene of incidents.
In Framingham, Mass., the fire department recently changed its policy of seeking reimbursement only after major spills. The department is now billing responsible parties after all spills for which cost recovery is authorized under Mass. General Law 21E, Spill Center says.Spill Center provides a billing service for the Framingham fire department.
In August 2011, Klaus Genssler, chief operating officer of US Oil Recovery, agreed to pay $3 million to settle a Harris County, Texas, lawsuit. The county claimed the company spilled hazardous materials into the area’s bayou system. The COO also was permanently barred from being involved in any related businesses in the state of Texas.
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3 thoughts on “Emergency Services ‘Increasingly Charging’ for Spill Clean-Up

  1. My agency recently required a person who dumped mixed pesticides on public land (out dated and possibly banned substances) to pay for the physical clean-up costs. Our laboratory cost and staff wages, that represented 1/12 of my annual budget, were not charged and would have more than tripled the bill.

  2. HazMat Experts and Firefighters petition Dow Chemical and Union Pacific for safe rail tank cars transporting gas chlorine. Secondary containment is a necessary improvement that must be implemented. See–PETITION C KIT for First Responders Comments.

  3. TOXIC TRAIN SAFETY – A First Responders Petition caused The Chlorine Institute to conduct a five-month study comparing the safety of secondary containment to the chlorine “C”-Kit for chlorine tank cars. The study proved secondary containment to be, by far, the safest technology for containing and preventing releases of chlorine gas. To see secondary containment – Search “CHLORTANKER.”

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