Containing and Cleaning up Oil Spills 101
Imagine you have a barrel of oil in your facility and suddenly, it tips over and the oil is spreading all over the place. What do you do? Oil spills are a major problem. They may also be a big issue depending on where they occur and how much oil is involved. Whatever the case may be, oil spill containment is much easier with the appropriate equipment on hand to keep the oil from spreading and make cleanup easier. Oil spill containment may seem like an overwhelming task for anyone who has never been through it before, you must utilize it in the correct order, the following are the Step-by-Step Response to Oil Spill
- Identify and isolate the source of the leak: First, you have to know where the oil is coming from.
- Stop the flow
- Contain the spill
- Prevent the oil from spreading any further
- Remove the oil
- Neutralize any chemical hazards
- Clean up and dispose of any contaminated materials properly
- Clean and protect the environment
Following these steps above can help you mitigate any damage before it becomes irreparable.
How to contain and clean up oil spills
The first thing you should know is that each spill, regardless of the liquid involved, necessitates a two-step procedure. Containment first! Clean- up Second!!
Start with clean-up? NO! Resist the urge. We all have that impulse, to clean up the moment we spill something. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself why? It makes perfect sense—who wants their floors to look like a Jackson Pollock painting?
Containment is the process of physically separating an oil spill from surrounding areas. By containing the spill, you must evaluate site conditions and determine the best method for removing it. Approaches to contain and clean up an oil spill include using absorbents like special absorbent pads or bags; dredging and removal; safety cordoning off using temporary fencing or temporary barriers (pre-clearing); contained burning; vacuuming with a vacuum truck or pump; mechanical excavation with cranes, skid steers, and trucks, as well as burning or pouring water on the deposit.
If you’re trying to get control of the situation by mopping up the oil, you’re going to find after a while that not only have you not made much of a difference but that the oil has spread — and continues to spread, making your problem worse by the minute.
So what do you do about oil spills instead?
Have you ever wondered – what are we going to do about oil spills? How are we going to stop them? Resist the temptation to start mopping up frantically and in a haphazard way and instead focus on containing the oil so it cannot spread any further.
And how do you do that?
You use sorbents designed for oil spill containment and arrange it around the spill.
What kind of oil spill-containing equipment/Kit?
Primarily spill berms or spill dikes if the spill happened on land, and oil booms if the spill happened on the water. By arranging this equipment around the perimeter of the spill, the oil will be contained where it is and you can start with mopping it up — without having to worry about it spreading any further. The following sorbent can be useful too:
Socks: its usage is simple! It can easily absorb any drips that occur in machinery while working. Its manufacturing is done in a way that you can mold it in any shape and fit it in the leakage so that it prevents the floor from getting dirty
Pads/rolls: it is effective in cleaning up or wiping the footprints and cleaning up the spills from the socks too. It can act as a cost-effective alternative to other oil absorbent products.
Cushions: the job is no other than the pads or rolls. It is just an alternative to use by the customer as per their preference. Specifically, it is used in industries that contain heavy types of machinery.
Booms: what these booms do is that they act as a barrier between the water to spill in the oil. It contains hooks and rings cellulose-based that can be connected to another boom together for extensive usage. It is durable as it has hydrophobic qualities, which prevents water from mixing in the oil.
Drum toppers: there can be extra spills in the drainage systems. Drum toppers can act as the perfect barrier between the drainage systems and oil/fuel/water spills.
Granular & Powders: Granular absorbents like Spill King and others are made of a range of materials like corn cobs, polypropylene, or recycled cardboard, and has various positive features that make them the perfect choice for any situation to reduce the risk of slip accidents anywhere from cracks, gaps, corners, and porous surfaces. They can be used on various surfaces in a wide range of situations, from keeping floors clean and dry, reducing slipping accidents and hazards to improving surface traction.
An essential part of any oil spill cleanup plan is having an established containment area to contain the spill until it can be safely and effectively cleaned up. This containment area should have all aspects of the clean-up considered including obvious, hidden, and potential threats to the safety and well-being of those involved in the cleanup effort.
The important thing to remember is that if you cannot contain the spill, you should not attempt to clean it up. Containment and clean-up of an oil spill is usually a multi-stage process until the amount of petroleum and/or chemical is spilled can be determined.
How to Contain oil spills on water
There are some great ways to maintain containment when doing cleanup with a widespread of oil on water. You could use booms and skimmers to skim the oil from the water surface before it can spread further, or use booms and skimmers above the affected area if you know that those have worked for similar spills before, so you know they work. Some of these containment tools may be more effective in one situation than they are in another. For instance, a skimmer can get a lot done when there’s still some oil on the surface. But if it’s been broken down and spread out over a wide area, it’ll be harder to use one. And since they can’t contain the oil forever, you’ll have to take other measures to keep the oil from spreading before you can rely on skimmers again
Preventive oil spill containment
Finally, Prevention is always better than cure. You know this! Why wait until the spill before securing the area? Because you’re an optimist? So if you handle large amounts of oil, why not put some kind of containment barrier in place before there’s a spill.
That way, you can keep the secured area fairly small, which means this kind of containment is far cheaper than the after-the-fact crisis management kind. And if there’s a spill, the damage will be comparatively minor and the oil can be cleaned up quickly.
An oil spill in your facility? You don’t have an oil spill emergency kit that ensures you have everything you need in case of an emergency? If something happens, it’s crucial that you have the oil spill emergency kit to contain and cleanup the oil spill.