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Office of Emergency Response

Office of Emergency Response (OER)

In case of an emergency call:

  • Illinois Emergency Management Agency – (217) 782-7860 or (800) 782-7860 (in Illinois)
    Emergency Release Notification Fact Sheet
  • The National Response Center – (800) 424-8802
  • Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (if the emergency involves the release of potentially hazardous materials to the environment) (217) 782-3637

Non-emergency inquiries or concerns

Mission of the Office of Emergency Response

Protect the health and safety of the citizens of Illinois during emergency incidents involving the release of oil, hazardous materials or other contaminants, while stabilizing, minimizing or eliminating the environmental consequences to the land, air or waters of the state.

Emergency Operations Unit (EOU)

The Emergency Operations Unit, within OER, coordinates Illinois EPA’s response to environmental emergencies involving oil or hazardous materials and ensures that any environmental contamination is cleaned up. EOU works with other response agencies including the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), which is the initial contact for responses to an emergency or disaster in Illinois.

See OER's Photos on Flickr

Emergency Operations Unit

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 (phone number?)

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, or at 888/372-1996
  • Workplace chemical exposure is handled by the Illinois Dept. of Labor or the Occupational Safety and Health Agency

Agency Safey Unit

To comply with the Illinois Health and Safety Act, Illinois EPA’s Agency Safety Unit Illinois EPA conducts the necessary training of all response staff and provides appropriate protective equipment for emergency response actions.

Licensed Industrial Hygienist Program/Training

As of July 13, 2013, the Illinois EPA no longer licenses industrial hygienists.  This change is pursuant to Public Act 98-78/Senate Bill 72, in which ABIH certification replaces the Licensed Industrial Hygienist requirement in the Illinois Department of Public Health regulations with respect to asbestos project design, etc.  Therefor the LIH program adminstered by the Illinois EPA was seen as redudandant, and was replealed.

Homeland Security

As a member of the Science Team of the State Weapons of Mass Destruction Team (SWMDT), EOU lends support in responses related to bio-terrorism and hazardous materials. By assessing hazards and associated risks, the Science Team helps ensure the safety of the SWMDT personnel and the general public.

Health-related concerns

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Tips on private well safety and maintenance

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Tips on steps to take during an emergency

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