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How to Report

Reporting a hazardous substance release or oil spill takes only a few minutes. To report a release or spill, contact the federal government's centralized reporting center, the National Response Center (NRC) Exit EPA , at 1-800-424-8802. The NRC is staffed 24 hours a day by U.S. Coast Guard personnel, who will ask you to provide as much information about the incident as possible. If possible, you should be ready to report the following:

If reporting directly to the NRC is not possible, reports also can be made to the EPA Regional office or the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office in the area where the incident occurred. In general, EPA should be contacted if the incident involves a release to inland areas or inland waters, and the U.S. Coast Guard should be contacted for releases to coastal waters, the Great Lakes, ports and harbors, or the Mississippi River. The EPA or U.S. Coast Guard will relay release and spill reports to the NRC promptly.

How Reports Are Handled

All reports of hazardous substance releases and oil spills made to the federal government are maintained by the NRC. The NRC records and maintains all reports in a computer database called the USCG's Emergency Response Notification System, which is available to the public. The NRC relays the release information to an EPA or U.S. Coast Guard On-Scene Coordinator (OSC), depending on the location of the incident. In every area of the country, OSCs are on-call and ready to respond to an oil or hazardous substance release at any time of the day. After receiving a report of an oil or hazardous substance release, the federal OSC evaluates the situation and, if the OSC decides that a federal emergency response action is necessary, the National Response System will be activated. Otherwise, the OSC will monitor the cleanup activities of the responsible party and the local and state governments, and will assist in the cleanup as warranted.

Contact the Emergency Response webmaster to ask a question, provide feedback, or report a problem.

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