Emergency Spill Response

Accidents happen! If you witness an environmental spill, contact emergency personnel promptly. Environmental Compliance maintains a reporting protocol that outlines the procedures to be followed in the event of a release. The protocol is for general use by university students and staff. This Standard Operating Procedure provides directions to follow if a suspect substance is released or discovered.


If a release is LIFE THREATENING, dial 911.

If a release is NON-LIFE THREATENING, call the Service Office (217) 333-0340.

After hours, press 0 to be redirected to Public Safety.

Give the following information if it can be obtained safely:

  • Location of the release (facility address and phone number)
  • Date and time of the release
  • Type of substance released
  • Source of the release
  • Spill location (inside building or outside building)
  • Estimate total quantity released
  • Estimate quantity that entered a storm sewer, sanitary sewer, Boneyard Creek, or Embarras River
  • Cause of the release
  • Damages or injuries caused by the release
  • Actions used to stop, control or mitigate the effects of the release
  • Whether any life is threatened by the release
  • Other persons who have been contacted


Spill Response Images

If you think you see a spill, call:
Life-threatening: 911
Non life-threatnening: F&S Service Office 217-333-0340.
Water Pollution Solution brochure Outside



F&S, the Division of Public Safety, and the Champaign Fire Department conducted a spill containment exercise on the morning of Thursday, October 20. The drill began between 10 a.m. and noon with a simulated call to 911.

To replicate a large oil spill from the fuel farm, event organizers placed dye in the storm drains near the university’s oil storage tanks on South Oak Street during this year’s mock scenario. The dye then traveled south to the Embarras River watershed, east of the Illinois Fire Service Institute.

The exercise is required annually by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and satisfies Abbott Power Plant’s Facility Response Plan requirements. For questions, please contact Bill Walsh wwalsh@illinois.edu, 217-300-7707, special programs coordinator, Safety & Compliance. 


2022 Recap

  • The simulated spill volume was 40,000 gallons of fuel oil (similar to diesel).
  • Each year, processes are improved based on exercise outcomes and new ideas.
  • The exercises are required under the Abbott Facility Response Plan. The FRP is required by federal regulation because of the quantity of oil stored.
  • There are two 1,000,000-gallon fuel tanks, one of which is normally empty and one full.
  • The tanks are surrounded by a berm containing approximately 1.2 million gallons. So even if the tank fails, the oil will be contained. There are multiple safeguards to prevent a large quantity of oil from escaping.
  • Agencies participating in the exercise included F&S, Champaign Fire, Urbana Fire, UIPD, Illinois EPA, and Champaign County emergency response.
  • Champaign Fire was on site ~10 minutes after the 911 call was placed. In practice, discovery time may be longer than emergency response time for some types of spills.