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United States Environmental Protection Agency
Oil Program
Begin Hierarchical Links EPA Home > Oil Program > Preparing for Oil Spills > Contingency Planning End Hierarchical Links


Contingency Planning

In order to respond rapidly and successfully to an oil spill, personnel responsible for containing and cleaning up the spill must know the steps that need to be followed during and after the spill. Contingency plans describe information and processes for containing and cleaning up an oil spill that occurs in a defined geographic area.

Well-designed local, state, regional, and national contingency plans assist response personnel in their efforts to contain and clean up oil spills by outlining the steps that should be taken before, during, and after an emergency. When used properly by trained personnel, a well-designed contingency plan enables oil spill response efforts to proceed smoothly and effectively, minimizes danger to cleanup personnel, reduces the overall costs of cleanup by avoiding unnecessary effort, and ensures that sensitive habitats are protected.

Because the approaches and methods for responding to oil spills are constantly evolving, and each oil spill provides an opportunity to learn how to better prepare for future incidents, contingency plans also are constantly improving and providing increased protection to human health and the environment from these accidents.


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