Spill Cleanup

On this page:

Despite our best efforts to prevent chemical spills, they can still happen.  Review the instructions on this page to know what to do in the event of a spill.


Large Spill

If the spill is too large to contain and clean up on your own, immediately contact DPS:

  • UPC: 213-740-4321
  • HSC: 323-442-1000

General Guide for Chemical Spills

  • Isolate the spill area; alert others
  • Determine identity of spill material; consult the SDS to determine the hazards
  • Avoid breathing vapors
  • Establish ventilation to the outside if safe; prevent the contaminant from spreading through the building
  • Absorbents and neutralizing agents must be compatible with the spilled chemical
  • Prevent the spilled chemical from going down drains to avoid affecting the environment
  • Dispose of cleanup materials as chemical hazardous waste
  • Call EH&S for hazardous waste pickup or for guidance on cleanup or air monitoring at 323-442-2200

Simple Small Spill (Liquid <1L)

  • Alert people in the area
  • Wear protective equipment
  • Contain by diking with the appropriate absorbent
  • Flammable- remove the ignition sources (burners, motors, anything that could cause a spark); use plastic or nonmetallic cleanup equipment.
  • Absorb or neutralize with appropriate agent working from outside edges inward; sorbents do not remove toxic or flammable hazards; neutralization can produce heat causing boiling and splattering
  • Acid- use sodium bicarbonate or acid spill kit
  • Base- use sodium bisulfate, citric acid, or base spill kit

Simple Spill: Dry

  • If not water reactive, dampen to prevent airborne dust
  • Control water reactive dust with sweeping compound
  • Carefully brush solids into a dust pan or container
  • Keep dust generation down to prevent creating inhalation hazards

Simple Compressed Gas Leak:

  • Presents no or only minimal inhalation or fire hazard
  • Remove ignition sources
  • Restrict access
  • Place in or next to a fume hood and tighten fittings
  • Locate leak with soapy water
  • If cylinder still leaks, notify supervisor
  • Contact EH&S

Spill Cleanup Reference Guide

Please review the Hazardous Material Spill Cleanup Guide Sheet for additional information on how to clean up spills of various substances.