New York has strict rules about reporting chemical and oil spills, given the imminent dangers posed to the environment and public health. This includes incidents involving petroleum, hazardous substances or pollutants that surpass defined thresholds.
Entities responsible for oil spills must immediately notify the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Petroleum spills that meet all of these criteria must be reported to the DEC.
- The spill is known to be more than five gallons.
- The spill is not contained and not under the control of the spiller.
- The spill has reached or will reach the state’s water or land.
- The spill is not cleaned up within two hours of discovery.
Timely notification is critical, as delays can result in substantial penalties. As such, it’s best to take swift action to protect your business from legal and financial liabilities.
What happens next?
Upon notification, the DEC promptly initiates an investigation to ascertain the spill’s scope and potential repercussions. Simultaneously, the responsible party must take immediate containment and cleanup measures under DEC supervision. This could involve deploying absorbents, booms or specialized cleanup crews to minimize environmental harm.
It’s essential to understand that spill reporting isn’t limited to the DEC alone. Other agencies, such as local health departments or the U.S. Coast Guard, may need involvement depending on the spill’s magnitude and characteristics.
It’s equally crucial to have a detailed report outlining spill specifics, response actions and subsequent remediation efforts. Compliance with these reporting obligations is necessary for regulatory adherence and potential liability mitigation.
Take informed action
Given the complexity and potential legal implications, seeking legal advice can be your best move. Navigating through oil spill reporting and ensuring you comply with all necessary regulations is crucial in protecting your business interests.