Division of Spill Prevention and Response


Tactic CR-2: Manual Removal

Manual removal of spill residue may include collecting spilled substances or contaminated debris with rakes, mops, pitchforks, trowels, shovels (Fig. 22), buckets, portable vacuum systems (Figs. 23 and 24) , and/or sorbent materials (Tactic CR-1). Contaminated material can be placed directly in plastic bags or drums for transfer. If the containers are to be carried to temporary storage areas, their weight should be limited to what one person can safely carry.


Figure 22. Shoveling contaminated gravel

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Figure 23. Vacuuming liquid contaminant

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Figure 24. Vacuuming drilling mud

A rubber squeegee (or similar tool) can be used to gently compress and agitate the tundra surface, to squeeze contaminants out of pore spaces of the organic layer. Compression and agitation may be used in conjunction with flooding (Tactic CR-7) or flushing (Tactic CR-8) to enhance recovery of spill residue.

During manual removal activities, avoid damaging plant roots and uncontaminated vegetation. The potential for physical damage to the tundra must be carefully weighed against the benefits of removing additional spill residuals. Workers should be provided with clear guidelines that will allow them to decide when to discontinue manual removal.

Considerations and Limitations

  • Take proper precautions to protect tundra from foot and vehicle traffic (Tactic P-4).
  • Manual removal is not useful for some non-hydrocarbon spills such as seawater.
  • This tactic has been adapted from Tactics R-2 and SH-2 in the Alaska Clean Seas Technical Manual (http://www.alaskacleanseas.org/techmanual.htm).

Equipment, Materials, and Personnel

  • Rake (1 per worker) – recovery.
  • Mop (1 per worker) – recovery.
  • Squeegee (1 worker) – agitation.
  • Portable vacuum system (1 operator) – to recover spilled material.
  • Portable generator (1 operator) – to power vacuum system.


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Updated: 12/20/2010