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What the Oil & Gas Industry Should Know About Reporting and Responding to Spills in Oklahoma

If A Spill Occurs, What Should An Operator Do?
  • Stop the spill at its source to prevent further discharge or release. This may involve shutting off a pump or closing a valve.
  • Contain the spill to minimize the area impacted. This could involve the use of temporary dikes, emergency pits, or containment booms on water.
  • Recover the fluids from the impacted area using pumps, vacuum trucks or absorbent materials.
  • Report the spill (if required to be reported) to the OCC and other agencies, as appropriate.
  • Assess the site impacts. Determine the area and depth of soil affected, as well as any impacts to water, vegetation and animals.
  • Restore the site. Any spill (even one not large enough to report) must be cleaned up and the site restored to beneficial use(s). This may involve treating or removing affected soils.
  • Review the remainder of this brochure for further requirements and other information.
  • New Spill Discharge Report Form
  • Field Operations OCC Guidelines for Responding To and Remediating Spills, available from the District and Oklahoma City offices, provides more information about the above topics.

Which Spills Are Required To Be Reported?

Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) requirements for reporting non-permitted discharges (spills) are found in Rule OAC 165:10-7-5. Spills most commonly involve crude oil, condensate, salt water and drilling mud.

Any spill to land must be reported to the OCC if it amounts to ten or more barrels of any substance used or produced in petroleum exploration or production. Also, a spill of any quantity of these substances that comes in contact with water must be reported.

Who Should An Operator Call To Report A Spill?

A verbal spill report must be made to the appropriate OCC District Office or Field Inspector within 24 hours of discovery. Refer to the map below that shows district boundaries. 

For emergency reporting spill after normal office hours, call OCC Field Operations Department at emergency line at (405) 521-4170.

An incident number will be assigned, which will be used for tracking purposes.

Is Any Follow-up Report Required?

Within ten working days of discovery of a spill, a follow-up written or oral report that includes the following must be filed with the OCC District Office:

  • Name of reporting party, firm name and telephone number
  • Legal description of location (Section, Township, Range)
  • Lease or facility name
  • Operator
  • Circumstances surrounding the discharge and whether it was to land or water
  • Date of occurrence
  • Volumes discharged
  • Method of cleanup (if any) undertaken and completed
  • Volumes recovered

How Long Should Spill Records Be Kept?

Records of any spill reported to the OCC must be maintained for a minimum of three years.

Should Anyone Else Be Contacted About A Spill?

Spills of petroleum hydrocarbons into or upon navigable waters, as defined by 40 CFR 112.2, are required to be reported to the U.S. Coast Guards National Response Center.



  • (800) 424-8802 (24-hour)
  • Any spill that affects surface water in the watershed of a water supply lake should be reported to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. 
    (800) 522-0206 (24-hour)
  • Spills that are the result of motor vehicle accidents should be reported to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
    911 or *55
  • In the event any spill results in the death of fish or wildlife, contact the Natural Resources Section of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. 
    (405)521-4616 (office hours)
    (405)990-5048 (after hours)


    When Can A Spill Incident Be Closed?

    The OCC District Office will likely close a spill incident upon meeting all of the following:

    • If all fluids were recovered promptly or the spill was contained within a lined diked area.
    • If, after cleanup, there are no soils with a significant hydrocarbon stain and/or odor.
    • If there is no likely impact to surface water or ground water.
    • When the surface is revegetated or otherwise restored to the beneficial use(s).
    • If these conditions are not or cannot be met, consult with the District Office or Field Inspector to determine what should be done. Once these action(s) are performed, an operator may request closure.

      An Administrative Law Hearing may be requested to settle any disagreement over necessary action(s). Also, the District Office may transfer a case needing prolonged assessment or remediation to the Pollution Abatement Department.

      How Should Impacted Sites Not Caused By Recent Spills Be Handled?

      When impacts are found at a site that are not the result of a recent spill, it is considered to be a historically impacted site.

      If soils are impacted by petroleum hydrocarbons or brine, the site should be reported to the District Office, which will assign an incident number. Consult with them on how to restore the site.

      If there are complex or unusually extensive impacts, or surface water or ground water has been or could be impacted, the site should be reported to the Pollution Abatement Department at (405) 521-2331. They will assign an incident number and give consultation on remediating the site.

      Published by the U. S. Department of Energy in cooperation with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, October 2002.

    Last Modified on Feb 01, 2024
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