Reporting Spills at MnDOT Operation Facilities and/or Resulting from Operation Activities
Office of Environmental Stewardship Environmental Investigation and Regulated Materials Units
The intent of this guidance document is to provide general procedural information for responding to and properly reporting a spill to the State Duty Officer in accordance with Minnesota Statute 115.061. Contact your supervisor and District Safety Administrator (DSA) with any questions regarding your involvement cleaning up or containing a spill. Any deviation from procedures contained in this document must be discussed with Environmental Investigation Unit (EIU) and/or Regulated Materials Unit (RMU) personnel prior to implementation.
Special Note: Do not attempt to recover a mercury spill. Guidance on responding to and reporting a mercury spill may be found at:
Discovery of a Spill or Release
- If safe to do so, attempt to stop or slow the release.
- Attempt to contain the release and block drains or sewer inlets to prevent the spill from entering storm sewers or surface waters.
- Move to a safe location and notify your supervisor.
- Report the release immediately to the State Duty Officer (Duty to Report a Spill, below).
Duty to Report a Spill
- YOU MUST REPORT ALL SPILLS to the State Duty Officer (per Statute 115.061) immediately, regardless of product type or volume spilled, except as noted below.
- All releases of hydraulic oil must be reported to the duty officer, regardless of quantity released.
- You do not need to report a spill of petroleum products that is less than 5 gallons. Petroleum products include lubricating oil (including synthetic), gasoline, diesel fuel, biodiesel, E85, gasoline blended with ethanol, aviation fuel, heating fuel oil or kerosene. You must still recover as much of the spill as possible.
- You do not need to report a spill that occurs inside the shop as long as the spill is contained on the concrete floor and can be fully recovered without any of the spill escaping down a floor drain or out the door. However, all spills of mercury must be immediately to the State Duty Officer, regardless of quantity or location of the release.
- All spills of chemicals or products released from MnDOT equipment or otherwise under control of MnDOT at the time of release must be called in immediately to the duty officer by MnDOT.
- You must also do everything you can to stop, contain and recover the spill if safe to do so.
- It is appropriate to attend to employee safety before reporting the release. Any questions related to employee safety should be directed the DSA.
- It may also be possible to have another MnDOT staff report the release while others attend to the spill or employee safety concerns.
- Report releases to the State Duty Officer at
Greater Minnesota: (800) 422-0798
Metro area: (651) 649-5451
- Provide as much of the following information as possible:
- Name/phone number of caller
- Narrative of release
- Date/time of release
- If the spill is ongoing or contained
- Amount and type of product spilled
- Location of release (address, city, county)
- Type of surface spilled on (soil, pavement)
- If any storm sewers or surface water were impacted
- Any other pertinent information
- Record the incident number/duty officer report number provided to you by the Duty Officer in the call.
- Provide the incident number/duty officer report number (DO#) to your DSA and the MnDOT Spill Program Manager.
- Call the State Duty Officer back with supplemental information, as applicable. Provide the Duty Officer Report Number and additional/supplemental information.
If you can safely address a spill, do the following:
- Immediately contain the spill and recover as much of the spilled material with absorbent material (rags, paper towels, floor dry, or whatever is available).
- Consider cleaning the affected area, especially if the spill is near surface water. Dish washing soap can help to clean spills on pavement, especially petroleum products. Do not excavate.
- Place the recovered material in a bucket or drum and label appropriately. Contact your DSA or RMU for proper disposal and assistance.
Minn. Stat. §115.061 DUTY TO NOTIFY; AVOIDING WATER POLLUTION.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), it is the duty of every person to notify the agency immediately of the discharge, accidental or otherwise, of any substance or material under its control which, if not recovered, may cause pollution of waters of the state, and the responsible person shall recover as rapidly and as thoroughly as possible such substance or material and take immediately such other action as may be reasonably possible to minimize or abate pollution of waters of the state caused thereby.
(b) Notification is not required under paragraph (a) for a discharge of five gallons or less of petroleum, as defined in section 115C.02, subdivision 10. This paragraph does not affect the other requirements of paragraph (a).
OES Note: “Immediately” is not a defined term per the statute, however any releases of products that were under MnDOT control should be called in as soon as safely possible. There is no “24-hour grace period”. Even if the release is called in by others, it MUST also be called in by MnDOT.