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How To Clean Up Oil Spills On Land?

Oil spills generally happen in large oceans, rivers, great lakes, and on shores, but that doesn’t mean that oil spills cannot pollute the land. When the oil from the water bodies drifts, it reaches the shores, polluting coastlines.

Just the way oil spills contaminate water and pose a threat to marine life, oil spills on land and soil can contaminate the environment, threatening plant and animal life. If not attended on time, the spill can migrate via soil and pollute a larger land area and adjacent water sources.

Therefore, it is essential to take stringent measures to control oil spills on land.

Oil spills on land: How to manage?

When an oil spill reaches the soil, pebbles, gravel, or broken ground, managing it becomes difficult. However, four basic steps should be adopted to manage oil spills on land. Here they are:

  • Controlling the spill

Before taking any step to contain the spill, control the spill. Stop the pump, locate drains, and turn off the ignition sources.

  • Containing the spill

Once the spill is under control, take measures to contain the oil that has already hugged the ground. Use filter socks or absorbent booms to contain the spread of oil.

When oil spills on the soil, it drifts sideways only for the first few minutes. Generally, the spill soaks into the ground. However, if the soil is wet or compacted, the spill can spread sideways, contaminating the environment.

  • Cleaning up the spill

To manage large pools of oil, use highly absorbent pillows and pads. Then cover the remaining spill with a layer of an organic absorbent to absorb free liquid.

  • Remediation

Biological remediation is a process that incorporates the use of plants or microorganisms to remove organic and inorganic compounds from the environment and detoxify it. It is done to break down oils, fuels, and other hydrocarbon products in a natural manner.

To accelerate the process, spray liquid hydrocarbon-eating bacteria over the contaminated soil. The bacteria will catalyze the natural degradation process. Tilling the contaminated soil will further help by enhancing penetration as well as oxygenation.

Keep the area moist throughout the remediation process. Complete remediation can take weeks or even months.

The land oil spill cleanup kit

The land oil spill cleanup kit comprises various components that effectively absorb and clean the soil.

The main components of oil spill cleanup kits include:

  • Land booms

Land booms are made from highly absorbent materials that imitate a barrier and prevent oil from spreading to the surrounded area.

  • Hydrocarbon pads

These are oil absorbent pads that are capable of absorbing a large quantity of oil. They work well when dealing with a pool of oil. On spreading these pads on a pool of liquid, they readily absorb it within moments.

Disposing of them is also a hassle-free task. When the pads get saturated by oil, collect them in a sealed plastic bag and dispose of them.

  • Floor sweep

Floor sweep absorbents are highly effective for oil spill cleanups on land. They come in the form of powder. They contain microbes that break hydrocarbons.

When the power is spread over the spill, the microbes activate and start eating oil, cleaning the spill effectively. They work the best when the soil is damp. Hence, it is essential to spray the area with water before spreading floor sweep absorbent over the spill.

The bottom line

Cleaning oil spills from land is challenging. But breaking down the process in these steps can help. Furthermore, before starting the cleanup process, make sure the area is safe. Be wary of fumes, and do not step in the area without wearing your protective equipment

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