How do you treat diesel-contaminated soil?

diesel fuel contamination in soil

Because diesel is one of the most common and sought-after fuels, spillages happen on all sorts of surfaces and these can quickly become a hazard.

Diesel-contaminated soil is a serious environmental issue that requires an appropriate response and proper treatment.

With this in mind, it’s necessary to explore some of the methods used to treat diesel fuel contamination in soil.

What needs to be done with soil that has been contaminated with diesel?

Diesel spills can occur for a variety of reasons, including human error.

These types of spills can also happen on a myriad of surfaces, all of which have the potential to for disastrous consequences. If diesel fuel spills on grass, it will kill any plants or crops that are growing in that area.

Alternatively, if a diesel fuel spill occurs on dirt or soil, it might contaminate and land which will need to be dealt with accordingly.

A diesel spill on soil also has the potential for it to contaminate water, resulting in a shortage of valuable nutrients as well as posing a health risk to people, plants and animals. With that in mind, the issue needs to be addressed and as soon as it arises.

First, if a diesel fuel spill has occurred, it is important to protect those around it and contain the spill. People will need to leave the immediate area, and anything that could cause a fire needs to be isolated.

Moreover, even when a diesel spill happens on dirt, you should attempt to temporarily contain the spillage until you contact a professional with experience in land remediation. This includes using absorbent pads to contain and prevent the spill’s spread while reducing the damage it inflicts.

Although it may seem productive to try and clean the spill yourself, it is never a good idea to treat diesel-contaminated soil without external help. Even apparently minor spillages will benefit from the know-how of expert with the appropriate protective gear and equipment.

These professionals will be able to extract the affected ground from your site to test and then later dispose of the contaminated soil.

This can be carried out on or off-site with stabilisation and screening as necessary.

In fact, there are various steps that need to be taken in this scenario, including excavation, treatment and containment.

Excavation can be carried out at the initial stage, which is when contaminated soil is removed and replaced with new topsoil.

Treatment involves treating the soil in the ground with different techniques, such as thermal treatment, vapour extraction, or bio-remediation.

Containment is when the contaminated soil is unable to spread further with the presence of a barrier.

Diesel-contaminated soil should be dealt with in a safe manner with proper methodology that entails segregation of any hotspots on the site.

This should be accompanied with relevant consignment notes and a complete segregation plan and statement.

How is soil affected by diesel?

Diesel fuel contamination in soil is detrimental to soil and plant wellbeing and soil microorganisms can be harmed as a result, thus reducing their number and activity.

It is important to note that if the concentration of spilled diesel is high, it risks an even greater impact on soil and plant health.

Even in lower volumes, diesel fuel contamination in soil can still cause discolouration in comparison to the surrounding area as well as poor vegetative growth. This type of contamination can also have ramifications for humans and wildlife because the compounds found in diesel can be toxic.

How long does diesel stay in soil?

A common belief shared by many people is that diesel will eventually naturally remove itself from the soil after initial contamination. However, diesel fuel can actually linger in soil for up to eight years in colder climates, meaning that the issue will not simply go away naturally without taking corrective action.

In most circumstances, diesel can even stay in soil for between two and four years before completely breaking down.

Is diesel toxic to soil?

In general, diesel fuel is regarded as more toxic than petrol because it possesses higher concentrations of pollutants.

In particular, diesel fuel can be extremely damaging to soil as it impacts the biological makeup of soil and can directly impact the quantity of microorganisms.

Diesel that has contaminated soil also affects its fertility. Therefore, it is important to remove and treat the pollutants and contaminants present quickly to mitigate risks to human health and the environment.

Treating diesel-contaminated oil with DHI Excavations

When dealing with diesel-contaminated soil, it is better to contact experts who have plenty of experience in the land remediation sector.

Not only is DHI Excavations committed to restoring contaminated land to a safe and usable state, but we are acutely conscious of the risks and requirements associated with the disposal of contaminated soil.

As specialists in hazardous waste treatment, we take care in removing, remediating and the disposing of hazardous wastes and contaminated soil.

Our range of treatment facilities deal with contaminants ranging from elevated hydrocarbons to soils impacted with asbestos.

With an inherent need to prioritise the environment, we adhere to sustainable best practice by ensuring that the contaminated soil is treated safely and according to the relevant regulations.

It is never easy to know what to do when it comes to diesel-contaminated soil.

So, why not contact us today to make an enquiry or have a confidential conversation with us?

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