TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is urging farmers use the 24-Hour Emergency Spill Line.
During this time of year, chemicals are often being transported to and from farms. As well as livestock facilities transporting manure to land apply.
Aaron Green works for the Emergency Response Program at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
Green understands accidents happen, that why he encourages farmers to follow the three C’s.
“Control the spill, so minimize the amount of material that is being released,” said Green. “Contain the spill, so make the area impacted as small as possible and then clean up the spill immediately."
Last year, IDEM received 1300 spill notifications through the spill line. Green said roughly 70 of those spill notifications were agriculture related.
“Generally whenever you have an increase in activity there’s a greater potential for spills or for accidents,” said Green. “Everyone is preparing for spring planting, so right now there’s additional chemicals being transported.”
IDEM classifies spills in three categories.
The first category, and most dangerous, is a spill that creates an immediate threat to human health and/or the environment. These spills are classified as ‘Risk Exposure’.
“If those types of spills occur, the farmer needs to evacuate the area immediately."
Green said farmers also need to call 911.
“Generally IDEM would not get involved until the acute hazard is addressed,” said Green.
The second category is a spill that can create a threat to aquatic life.
“Fertilizers and manure spills are an example,” said Green. “Aquatic life have a very low tolerance for these types of chemicals and it usually results in death. ”
The final category is a spill that is not properly cleaned, which Green says can create a long-term chronic issue.
“This is by polluting ground water and creating more long-term issues,” said Green.
As planting season is underway, Green wants to farmers to know IDEM is there to help.
“I would encourage farmers to be proactive and notify the IDEM spill line at 888-233-7745,” said Green. “There is no harm in notifying IDEM early.”
Julia Wickard is the Agriculture Liaison for IDEM. She said IDEM knows accidents happen in any industry.
“That’s why the spill line is there,” said Wickard. “That’s why we have public servants here at IDEM that can assist farmers to help clean up situations that are out of their control.”
Wickard said it’s a team effort and she wants farmers to know they are not alone.
“We at IDEM are a partner to farmers and we want to be there,” said Wickard