Frequently Asked Questions

What are the responsibilities of EOU?

OER responsibilities include:

  • Oil and hazardous material spills in water or on land
  • Releases of harmful quantities of toxic substances into the air
  • Emergencies involving wastewater treatment systems and public water supplies
  • Emergencies involving solid waste disposal sites
  • Fish kills caused by pollutants
  • Abandoned hazardous waste incidents posing immediate hazards
  • Illegal burning of waste

Where are EOU personnel?

Most of the Emergency Operations Unit personnel are located in the Springfield IEPA Headquarters, but there are additional staff in the Collinsville and DesPlaines Regional Offices.

Most EOU staff can be reached at the Agency headquarters in Springfield (217-782-3637). There are also full-time response staff in the Des Plaines (800-759-7626) and Collinsville (618-346-5120) regional offices. During evenings, weekends and holidays, a 24-hour Duty Officer may be reached at 217-782-7860.

What assistance is available?

The Emergency Operations Unit provides many services to other Agencies and the public.

The Emergency Operation Unit may provide assistance in the form of:

  • Technical information about identification, chemical properties, toxicity and potential dangers of a given hazardous material
  • Monitoring or testing of air, water, soil or containers
  • Advice about:
    • Containment of hazardous materials
    • Restoration of the environment, including cleanup objectives
    • Evacuation recommendations
    • Disposal or treatment of hazardous materials
  • Oversight to assure completeness of cleanup actions taken by responsible parties
  • Documenting violations of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act for possible legal action
  • Professional personnel, technical assistance and equipment to assist public safety officials

What assistance is not provided?

The Emergency Operations Unit generally does not lend assistance or assume a backup role in the following situations:

  • Emergencies involving radioactive materials are handled by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency
  • Emergencies involving disease-contaminated materials are handled by the Illinois Department of Public Health
  • Spills at crude oil storage sites are handled by the Division of Mines and Minerals (part of the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources), unless spills enter surface waters
  • Citizens pollution complaints are typically handled by the Illinois EPA Regional Offices and may be placed on-line.
  • Workplace chemical exposure is handled by the Illinois Dept. of Labor or the Occupational Safety and Health Agency