"ANY" construction projects involving activities and/or equipment on or near water need to have contingency plans for containment of discharges into or onto the water.  40 CFR 116 defines a discharge as:  "Including, but not limited to, any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, or dumping a controlled material or substance into or onto the water."


Further, 40 CFR 117 states any person in charge of a vessel or an onshore or an offshore facility shall, as soon as they have knowledge of any discharge of a controlled substance from such vessel or facility in quantities equal to or exceeding the reportable quantity, immediately notify the appropriate agency of the U.S. Government.


What Does This Mean?

Basically if you are working on, above, or around water (river, creek, lake, or pond) and discharge (spill) a listed or regulated waste, you MUST report this discharge and IMMEDIATELY take action to contain and clean it up.


Report the Condition if:

·       The hazardous substance has the potential to leave the property by run-off, sewers, tile lines, culverts, drains, utility lines, or some other conduit, or,

·       The hazardous substance has the potential to reach a water of the state – either surface water or groundwater or,

·       The hazardous substance can be detected in the air at the boundaries of the facility property by the senses (sight and smell) or by monitoring equipment or,

·       There is a potential threat to the public health and safety or,

·       Local officials (Fire department, law enforcement, Hazmat, public health, and emergency management) respond to the incident or,

·       The release exceeds a Federal Reportable Quantity (RQ).

Who Do We Report To?

The State of Iowa requires any person manufacturing, storing, handling, transporting, or disposing of a hazardous substance to notify the Iowa DNR of the occurrence of a hazardous condition.


The notification should be made as soon as possible but not later than six hours after the onset or discovery of the hazardous condition.


Notification should be made to Iowa DNR’s 24-hour Emergency Spill Response telephone number – 515-281-8694 and to the local law enforcement agency.


The notification should include as many of the following details as known:

·        Location of the hazardous condition.

·        Time and date of onset or discovery of the hazardous condition.

·        Name of the material, the manufacturer’s name and volume of material

·        The medium (land, water or air) in which the hazardous condition occurred or exists.

·        Name, address and telephone number of the party responsible for the hazardous condition (in most instances, this would be the contractor or material supplier).

·        Time and date of the verbal report to the Iowa DNR

·        Weather conditions at the time of the hazardous condition onset or discovery.

·        Name, mailing address and telephone number of the person reporting the hazardous condition.


In addition, the Office of Construction should also be notified of the spill.


A written report is also required to be submitted to the Iowa DNR within 30 days of the spill.


Additional information is available on Iowa DNR’s website http://www.iowadnr.gov/spills/index.html


Reportable Quantities

A reportable quantity depends on what has been spilled.  40 CFR 117 lists Federal requirements for Reportable Quantities (RQ's) and 567 IAC Chapter 41 contains others regulated by Iowa DNR.  Since it is almost impossible to "after‑the‑fact" quantify anything spilled into the water, the following will be field guidelines:

n  ANY fuel or petroleum products which produce a noticeable sheen have to be reported to the Office of Construction.  Obviously, some discretion will have to be used since a single drop of oil will produce a sheen.  One drop is probably not significant, but one 3 L (1 gallon) "drop" is.

n  ANY paint, or paint waste will be reportable.  Again some discretion is needed, but there is very little latitude.  That is why some type of emergency containment system is recommended for bridge painting projects over water.

n  ALL occurrences of herbicides and/or pesticides discharged into water have to be reported.

n  ANY foreign liquids such as curing compound discharged into water have to be reported.


What is Meant by Contain and Clean‑up?

Specification 1107.07, C states, in part:

"Contractor shall take other necessary precautions to prevent pollution of streams, lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and other areas with fuels, oil, bitumens, chemicals, or other harmful materials..."

This specification notifies the contractor that we expect them to conduct their operations in a manner which minimizes potential water (and air) pollution.  Further, for operations which have potential for water pollution, it is recommended to ask contractors how they plan to contain, mitigate, and remediate spills which may occur during the project.


It is strongly suggested that contractors develop a spill kit where individual "supplies" are stored in a closed, open headed 55 gallon drum.  This "kit" method will assure spill containment supplies are dry, clean, and available when needed.  The drum can be used to contain collected wastes for disposal.  "Supplies" could include, but are not necessarily limited to:

n  Containment boom.  Boom (skimmer type or sorbent type) should be of sufficient length to encircle a large surface slick.  Typically 82 to 115 m (250 to 350 feet) should be adequate.

n  Floating petroleum adsorbent pads.  Typically two unused cases of 450 x 450 mm (18" x 18") pads are adequate.

n  Water skimmer (dippers) to remove floating solids. 

n  Emulsifying agent.  Several different commercially available emulsifying agents are on the market.  This chemical is typically a derivative of detergent and, when sprayed onto the surface, breaks down the surface tension and disperses an oil/petroleum slick.  (NOTE:  Emulsifying agents shall be used as a "LAST" resort.  And then only when a slick cannot be contained or adsorbed by some other means.)

n  Adsorbent material such as floor dry.  Typically a couple of bags are sufficient for most spills on land.

n  Waste containers to accumulate and temporarily store wastes.

n  Commonly used spill kit materials and safety supplies are available through the Central Warehouse.  Contact the Office of Location and Environment, 515-239-1741, for any guidance.


If a spill occurs, proper procedures are:


Assume a spill is into water and the contaminant has a specific gravity of < 1.0.  (It floats.)

1.   Immediately deploy the containment boom around and downstream of the spill.

2.   Deploy adsorbent pads to soak up the floating contamination.

3.     Routinely collect contaminated pads, replace with fresh pads, and dispose of contaminated pads in a sealable metal container.  The contractor is then responsible to dispose of all contaminated material in accordance with federal and state regulations.



Assume a chemical (maybe paint) has spilled onto the soil.

1.     Immediately spread adsorbent (floor dry) over the spill or scoop‑up soil and spilled material and place on some impervious material (like plastic).

2.     After allowing time to adsorb the spilled material, scoop up the adsorbent and surface contaminated soil.  The contractor shall place material in a sealable metal container and dispose of in accordance with federal and state regulations.



Iowa DNR has developed rules for plugging and abandoning wells.  (Refer to 567 IAC, Chapter 39 and Chapter 82.)  The rules require that all sealed wells are to be reported by the owner to the Iowa DNR within 30 days after sealing.  They also require a registered well contractor to do the work.  A sample "Abandoned Water Well Plugging Record" (DNR Form 542‑1226) is included in Appendix 10‑6.  The well contractor shall fill out this form and submit it to the project engineer.  The project engineer shall sign as the “owner’s agent” and forward the completed form to the Iowa DNR.  A copy of the signed form should be placed in the project file.