Given oil spills can pose serious risks to the environment, it is important to have an answer to the question ‘How are oil spills cleaned?’ so that you know what to do when one happens.
How are oil spills cleaned when they occur?
Although the majority of oil spills occur at sea, those on land can be equally damaging.
Because oil is thin and lubricious, water can help it spread despite the two liquids not being able to mix. This means it can enter waterways just like any other type of fuel.
Even a small spill of oil can negatively impact water treatment plants and their equipment, making it imperative any spill kept away from nearby waterways or sources of groundwater.
Oil spills that occur on hard surfaces can be identified easily because they have a rainbow-coloured coat on top that can be seen in large puddles. On soil or other loose ground, it’s more difficult to identify if a spill has occurred.
The smell might be a giveaway, certainly to those familiar with the odour, providing it isn’t camouflaged by the scent from other fumes present in the area.
Those tasked with stopping the spread of an oil spill will likely use tools like absorbent pads and booms. Absorbent pads can help prevent the fluid from seeping into the ground, or making a puddle on solid ground. Booms are incredibly useful for blocking the liquid from entering waterways and nearby drains.
If you have discovered that oil is leaking from upended or damaged drums or tanks, it is important tackle the problem as long as it is safe to do so. You could capture oil coming from the tank by using a container big enough to hold the liquid.
Like many other fuels, oil is flammable. For that reason, you should keep any possible sources of ignition separate from the spill as part of any preventative measures.
Who is in charge of cleaning them?
When an oil spill occurs, it may feel as if you should take control of the situation and clean it by yourself.
However, this risks inflicting greater damage because you don’t possess the knowledge or tools that qualified professionals have.
When wondering ‘how can oil spills be cleaned up?’, it is important to note that once absorbent materials have been laid down, a qualified and experienced oil spill cleaning company like DHI Excavations should be contacted immediately.
Those who are well-equipped and experienced dealing with fuel spills can devise the most practical solution.
For example, oil spills that occur in urban environments, where there is a high volume of concrete or hard surface materials, are usually blocked from entering the ground or soil below.
For that reason, an alternative approach is required to one on agricultural land. Oil that has spilled on soil and gravel is more likely to seep into the ground. This type of spill can get out of control quickly the oil goes deeper.
Not only that, when an oil spill happens, there is a strong likelihood the soil where it is located will become contaminated. Sometimes, it is impossible for the land to be fully cleansed. In those cases, the contaminated soil is removed for disposal or remediation.
Although it is crucial to respond quickly and appropriately to an oil spill by doing whatever you can to prevent it causing more damage, you should immediately contact professionals in the land remediation sector to help.
It is also worth noting that you should never attempt to wash away a spill on hard surfaces because water might carry oil into loose ground or nearby drains.
Instead, a measured and multi-layered approach to cleaning an oil spill on land is vital to guarantee there are no unresolved pockets of contamination and that the land is fully remediated for future use.
Oil spill cleanups by DHI Excavations
Not only do we conduct a thorough cleanup, we will also provide useful information and guidance prior to arriving onsite.
When we review a site, an in-depth assessment is made before we recommend a specific course of action. That examination includes identifying and assessing aspects of the land that may be especially challenging.
For example, with oil spills, we may be presented with certain hazards or surprise sources of contamination that are exacerbating an issue.
Our cleaning process includes righting and removing spilled barrels, turning off any machinery and potential sources of ignition, and determining the full scale of the spill.
Because there is no single way to clean up an oil spill, it is best to call on the help of experts familiar with the best approach – and equipped with modern tools – to achieve full remediation.
Why not contact us today to discuss your problem?