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Oil Spill Frequently Asked Questions

DISCLAIMER: These are general guidelines in the event of an escape of home heating fuels or other contaminants. If you have experienced an escape of fuel or contaminants, immediately, contact your oil service provider for their professional advice. Consult with your broker for possible coverage.

Approximately 20% of all spills of environmental concern, which occur in this province every year, are from domestic furnace oil tanks. If not properly installed and maintained, the common domestic heating oil tank found at many Newfoundland and Labrador homes can become a serious threat to the environment.

What are my Responsibilities?
As owner of a furnace oil tank you have a number of responsibilities of which you may not be aware:


How Can I Minimize My Risk of a Spill?


How Do I Report a Spill?
The Government Service Centre, in cooperation with the Canadian Coast Guard service, provides a 24-hour emergency response program for environmental emergencies. You can report a spill by calling 772-2083. Collect calls will be accepted or call 1-800-563-2444.

You should notify owners of neighbouring properties that you have had a spill and that you are taking measures to have the situation addressed.

What Information Should I Give?
As much detail as possible should be given. lt is important for response personnel to know your name and telephone number, the location of the spill, and the approximate amount of the loss.


What Does a Spill Clean-up Involve?
Immediate excavation of contaminated soil and materials is recommended. This will help reduce the spread of oil onto neighbouring properties. Once the excavation is complete, fresh soil may be used to replace the contaminated soil.

Before backfilling with fresh soil, the site must be inspected by an official of the Government Service Centre to ensure the contaminated area has been cleaned satisfactorily.

How Do I Dispose of the Contaminated Soil?
Disposal of oil-contaminated soil must be done at an approved disposal site. A Government Service Centre official can inform you of the proper disposal procedures.


Who Provides Clean-up Services?
Anyone can undertake to clean up a spill, as long as it is done to the satisfaction of the Department of Environment, as determined by officials of the Government Service Centre.
There are a number of private contractors who specialize in the clean up of environmental spills. A list of these can be found in the yellow pages of your telephone directory under Environmental Consultants & Services.


What Will Be The Cost of Clean-up?
Costs vary, depending on the particulars of the situation. Some factors which will affect the cost of cleaning your property of an oil spill are:


Where Can I Get Additional Information?
Please visit our website at

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