Emergency situations during investigation or further remediation of contaminated soils usually occur in a fast and unexpected way, requiring an immediate response.
The most common causes that provoke emergency situations are:
- Minor accidents
- Exposure to chemical substances
- Health problems (heat shock, heat stress)
- PPE failure
- Physical harm (caused by vehicle accidents, loss of part of the equipment, etc.)
- Electric failures
- Toxic vapors
- Chemical reaction among incompatible substances
- Container overflowing with polluted material or some contaminant
- Leakage of hazardous substances
- Contamination plume migration
When an emergency situation appears, a decisive action is required in order to avoid or minimize these situations. To fight effectively such situations an Emergency Plan is required.
Every Emergency Plan must be designed as part of the Health and Safety Plan and it should be compatible with and be integrated in emergency local plans if applicable and establish guidelines in order to face emergency situations. Furthermore, it should be verified regularly by means of exercises and simulations and periodically revised in order to adapt it to changes or new situations.
An Emergency Plan should take into account the following points:
- Concerning personnel:
- Roles and responsibilities
- Personnel training
- External and internal communication
- Procedures and rules to follow
- Concerning work place:
- Basic site characteristics
- Potential emergency situations
- Contingency plans
- Evacuation routes
- Location of the emergency decontamination area
- First aid procedures and emergency personal protection equipments
- Emergency pumping of contaminated groundwater and non-aqueous phase liquid if necessary. In this case emergency indicators that allow analyzing the migration in order to predict and consequently act before the contamination plume reaches a nearby river for example should be determined. Installation depth of the pumps and pump types in each monitoring well should be pointed out in order to establish the necessary measures to pump and control the evolution of the contamination plume during pumping activities. Extracted contaminated water should be transported to correspondent treatment facilities.
- Procedures of emergency decontamination