How to clean an oil spill on land safely and effectively

SpillPro on 21 September 2018

Oil spills on dirt and land have the potential to contaminate the environment and kill plant and animal life. Left unattended, oil spills will eventually migrate through the soil to the nearest water source, such as a sewer or river.

Every organisation has the responsibility to clean up their own oil spills as quickly as possible and to minimise the impact on the environment. You must use spill kits and spill response procedures to perform this task.

Find out how to clean up oil spills on land quickly and effectively, contact SpillPro for expert advice.

How to clean up oil spills on land

clean up spill trailer kit

Land based oil spill kits contain the right mix of spill response equipment to contain and clean the spill. Major components of this kit are as follows:

Land booms

Land booms look like large sausages. They are made from oil absorbent material causing them to act as a barrier. This prevents oil from leaving an area surrounded by land booms.

Hydrocarbon pads

Hydrocarbon pads are a type of oil absorbent pads. Each pad absorbs a large quantity of oil. They are effective where there is a pool of oil, which needs to be soaked up. Once the pads are saturated they can be collected in sealed plastic bags for disposal.

Envirosolutions Floor Sweep

Floorsweep absorbents look like sawdust or powder. It contains microbes, which are dormant until they come into contact with hydrocarbons. These microbes consume the oil, cleaning the soil of all evidence of the hydrocarbon spill. If the spill has seeped into the soil, it may be necessary to dig up the top layer and aerate the soil. Microbes function best when damp, so spraying the area with water also aids the clean-up operation.

Oil spill training

A critical requirement to clean oil spills land or dirt is not a piece of equipment, but rather a person. Trained staff are absolutely essential to limit the extent of a spill and to manage the clean-up. On the other hand, a lack of training leads to ineffective clean-up and potential injuries.

It may seem obvious to rush into a spill situation with absorbent material to clean the spill as soon as possible. But if the leak is not isolated and the spill not contained, all the energy spent on cleaning the spill will be wasted as the spill continues to spread.

SpillPro offers training in oil spill clean-up on land and dirt. Our training includes the seven steps for cleaning a spill as well as the proper use of the items in a spill kit.

The process for cleaning the spill

cleaning up oil spill on road

SpillPro promotes a seven-step process for cleaning spills. These steps are designed to help employees think through the hazards and take the appropriate action. Following the sequence will minimise the impact of a spill, reduce the risk of injury and ensure a speedy and effective clean-up:

1. Assess the spill and determine whether help is needed

Make sure the source of the spill is isolated by closing a valve, uprighting the container, or otherwise stopping the source of the spill.

2. Contain the spill to prevent it spreading

It is vital to keep an oil spill away from drains or water as the spill spreads very quickly across the water surface.

3. Use your Personal Protective Equipment

PPE provided in oil spill kits is designed to withstand the effects of oils and additives. The gloves provide a good grip even in slippery conditions.

4. Absorb the spill using spill absorbents

The aim is to remove all the oil from the ground, even if this means digging up some soil where oil has penetrated the surface.

5. Dispose of waste absorbent by placing it into sealed plastic bags

A licensed contractor should transport these bags to a registered hazardous waste disposal site.

6. Report all oil spills to supervisors or managers

Legislation requires some spills to be reported to the local authorities who may send inspectors to the site.

7. Restock the spill kits

Replenish the PPE, booms, and absorbents used to clean up the spill. This step should be accomplished as soon as possible to prevent a situation where you are unable to respond to a spill due to lack of spill response materials.

Get expert advice on how to clean oil spills on land

SpillPro supplies spill kits for oil spills on land and dirt. Our products enable you to contain a spill and clean it up quickly and effectively. We also provide training to ensure your staff know what to do in the case of an oil spill.

Find out how to clean an oil spill on land with expert advice, training, and equipment from SpillPro. Call us on 1800 368 450 for a consultation.