Preparation is key for response
Spill prevention and preparedness are top priorities for an active port like the Port of Vancouver USA. With busy road, rail and marine operations, we take a serious approach to avoiding spills of any kind. If an unanticipated event does occur on port property, preparation, quick response and safety are critical.
One of the resources that our team uses to help employees, tenants and customers prepare for unanticipated events are spill response equipment sheds. Eight spill sheds are peppered throughout port property to provide maximum response capability along with nine spill response kits. These also complement two larger spill response trailers that were purchased thanks to a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology.
These sheds were built in 2015 and provide supplies to assist first responders with initial spill containment. Strategically placed on both sides of the rail corridor, the sheds are easily accessible to those in need. On a monthly basis, port Environmental Specialist Phillip Martello inventories the port’s spill response equipment stores and replenishes the items, if necessary.
“In January we increased and diversified our inventory to be better prepared for a spill-related situation,” said port Environmental Manager Matt Graves. “The inventory ranges from universal spill pads to personal protective equipment (PPE), containment booms and more.”
Training is a vital component of the preparedness process. All port maintenance and security employees go through annual spill response training with a focus on initial containment. Additionally, five port employees are 40-hour HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response) certified, meaning that they have gone through the rigorous training that meets standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Located on the Columbia River, the port is a global point of connection with river, road and rail for cargo transportation options. The Columbia River is a critical navigation channel that provides economic benefit and recreational opportunities to the Pacific Northwest and beyond. In addition to the port’s spill prevention efforts, Clean Rivers is a key organization that works to have oil response equipment strategically placed along the river.
We are proud to be an active member of the region’s spill response community. The port recognizes the great importance of this effort as we all work to grow our industries and businesses while protecting such a vital resource for so many in the Northwest.