The Emergency Response Group (ERG) is responsible for maintaining a twenty-four hour rapid, comprehensive response to emergency and non-emergency statewide oil and hazardous substance incidents for the protection of human health, safety, and the environment. The ERG also responds outside the state when an incident in Delaware is impacting a neighboring state or when an incident originating in a neighboring state is impacting Delaware.
The ERG is a member of the State Emergency Response Team (SERT). In addition to ERG, SERT members include DNREC Enforcement, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, the Delaware State Fire School, the Delaware State Police, the Division of Public Health, local and county government agencies and local fire companies. The ERG is tasked with managing the site of an incident, including:
- establishing and directing technical matters such as site health and safety issues;
- determining the need for additional resources;
- accumulating and evaluating information; and
- interacting with support agencies.
The SERT implements the Incident Management System, a standard system for organizing state/county agency response to a hazardous substance release or a significant oil release.
The ERG is also responsible for directing and coordinating activities related to scientific evaluation including interpretation of monitoring results, planning control and remedial actions, and the development of sampling plans. In addition to responding to an incident, the ERG preplans and coordinates response issues both internally and externally.
The Emergency Response Group maintains five response vehicles and a response trailer. Each of these contain equipment and materials that are necessary to respond to most oil and hazardous substance releases. The ERG responds to a variety of incidents, such as:
- residential heating oil tank releases;
- small mercury spills;
- oil tanker spills in Delaware waters;
- indoor air quality;
- chemical railcar leaks;
- abandonment of unidentified chemical drums;
- leaking underground storage tanks (commercial and residential); and
- chemical, petroleum, biological and radiological incidents in any media (air, land, surface and ground water).
The Emergency Response Group over the past ten years has had an average of 352 incidents per year (one incident per day). For each of the last ten years the following trend has been: 60% of the incidents involved petroleum releases; 60% of the total incidents occurred in New Castle County; and 60% of the incidents involved only the Emergency Response Group.
Reports of incidents requiring a response by the Emergency Response Group or the State Emergency Response Team are handled by the Division's TOLL-FREE 24-HOUR COMPLAINT LINES. The number is 1-800-662-8802.