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Spill Control

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I'm curious, what are others doing for spill control? Do you have a plan prepared in advance and containment supplies at the ready?

My local officials haven't required me to prepare a spill control plan, so it hasn't been a high priority for me yet. However I do want to be prepared. We store our bulk alcohol in 55 gallon stainless steel drums, and I suspect 55 gallons could be a potential volume of spill I'd have to deal with. My first thought is fire safety, which would require quickly containing it and preventing contact with any sources of ignition. After that's accomplished, there's the task of cleaning it up.

I know I can purchase a commercial spill control kit, with absorbent pads and socks, but I'd like to hear other ideas and make sure I'm thinking this through completely. So far my plan is to contain to prevent a fire, and then just wash it down the drain with plenty of water to dilute.

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Depends on whats spilt. Our first action to hose with water, this immediately dilutes the alcohol, reduces vapour evaporation and increases flash point. Any spill we just wash down. All our floor drains collect into an external pit, which we pump into collection tanks. Ethanol is considered a pollutant in most waste systems. But less than 10% alc/vol is considered general trade waste.

Do not mop up or apply absorbant material to high proof >60% alc/vol, Dilute first. Otherwise you just provide more evaporation surface area, hence fumes and your raise the VEL.


When we transfer high proof, we always have a fire hose with a spray gun at hand.

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apparently someone around here doesn't have a sense of humor

And yes, spraying down with water is what you do. Using the fine sprinkler setting on the spray gun to spray the air above the spill will remove alcohol vapor. It will also soak the marshmallows, but oh well.

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  • 1 year later...
Guest Mark Hlebichuk

I am currently working with Bill Owens through all of you to develop some protocols for safety in our industry. and part of that is spill control. Look for the email and link to a 5 min questionnaire to help us assess our group's needs and current situations. We are looking to present the info at the 2014 ADI conference in Seattle.

From a preventative standpoint there are spill prevention pallets that contain the liquid and if the entire amount or a large amount is spilled a compartment opens and a bladder is allowed to open containing all of the liquid and minimizing, i our case, a potential serious flammable situation, but also saving our commodity.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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