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Hazardous Materials Spills

Hazardous materials, including diesel, gasoline and used oil, can be harmful to people, property, wildlife and the environment. Spills do happen, and often they are out of your control. Plan ahead, and be prepared.

When a spill occurs, the responsible party must:

  • Assess the health and safety hazards and identify the substance spilled.
  • Stop the spill at the source if at all possible and safe to do so.
  • Consult the Reportable Threshold Table for minimum reportable amounts of material(s) spilled.
  • Immediately report the discharge to the 24-Hour Spill Report Line by calling 867-920-8130 (Collect calls will be accepted). Or, fill out the NT/NU Spill Report form and fax it to 867-873-6924, or email it to
  • Notify any members of the public that may be affected by the spill.
  • Clean up spill and impacted area.

For more information, please contact the GNWT Environment Division at 867-873-7654.           

Regulatory oversight and investigation

The Departments of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) and Lands, and the Office of the Regulator of Oil and Gas Operations (OROGO) are responsible for coordinating Government of the Northwest Territories regulatory oversight and investigation of hazardous material spills in NWT under their respective jurisdictions. Several other federal agencies, as well as the Inuvialuit Land Administration, are also responsible for conducting spill investigations and monitoring their cleanup in the NWT.

More information on lead agencies and their responsibilities for spills can be found in the NWT/NU Spills Working Agreement.

Spill Contingency Plans

ENR has Spill Contingency Planning requirements for facilities located on Municipal and Commissioners Lands in the Northwest Territories.

Spill contingency plans must be filed with the Chief Environmental Protection Officer, in accordance with the Spill Contingency Planning and Reporting Regulations, for:

  • underground storage facilities of Hazardous Materials with a capacity equal to or greater than 4000 L or Kg
  • above ground storage facility of Hazardous Materials with a capacity equal to or greater than 20,000 L or Kg

ENR has developed a Plain Language Guide to the Spill Contingency Planning and Reporting Regulations.

All plans submitted to the Chief Environmental Protection Officer must ensure compliance with the regulations. These plans must also be reviewed and updated on an annual basis.

Residential Oil Tanks

Large, unexpected bills can be a home and business owner’s nightmare. An improperly installed and/or poorly maintained oil tank can leak or spill unexpectedly, often costing in the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars and be harmful to people, your property and the environment.

It is the legal and financial responsibility of the homeowner, commercial building owners and/or property managers to clean up all heating oil tank leaks and spills.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has developed this Homeowner’s Guide to Oil Tanks to help prevent this unwelcome surprise.