on the spot web comic a big spill

Source: © Jane Webster / Debut Art Ltd.

Answer from Tom Johnson:

Typically with spillages absorbing is the go-to option, but in this case that is not as viable due to the volume of spilled liquid. In this case, it would be best to remove the pool with an intrinsically safe pump, which is insulated in such a way that it will not provide an ignition source. The risk of fire can be reduced by ventilating the building and monitoring vapour levels using a gas monitor capable of detecting explosive limits. Following the pumping, any remaining residues can be absorbed and disposed of with the rest of the spillage as hazardous waste.

Tom Johnson is an emergency responder at the National Chemical Emergency Centre