Oil and Fuel Pollution Prevention and Control
January 7, 2009barriehol
The discharge of fuels and oils into inland waterways has the potential to devastate the ecology and biodiversity of the watercourse far beyond the immediate site of a spill.
Two common sources for such pollution are from boats including both commercial and leisure craft, and from accidental ground seepage and outflows from industrial premises typically haulage and process plants. Ensuring good safety practice and equally effective alarm systems is necessary to minimise the risk but if the risk of a spill cannot be totally eliminated ensuring you have a contingency for containment is vital.
Spill control products are readily available and include products manufactured specifically for hydrocarbon spills and leaks. These can be purchased in bulk packs or in pre-assembled kits.
It is good practice to locate an emergency oil spill kit in close proximity to marine fuel pontoons and fuel storage facilities within industrial premises. Early response can significantly reduce the risk of serious pollution to waterways. It has been reported that just one litre of fuel can adversely pollute one million litres of water and once dispersed is virtually impossible to remove completely.
In addition to bulk packs, Mobile oil spill kits containing absorbent socks, also known as containment booms, pillows and pads are also useful in larger facilities as they can be quickly deployed to the site of a spill. These specially formulated absorbents soak up oils and fuels without becoming waterlogged or sinking so can be deployed in the water around a vessel or at the point of a spill outflow to contain and remove water bourn pollutants.
Boat owners should also carry their own emergency spill control products and take sensible precautions to allow the containment of on board fuel and oil leaks most commonly arising from refuelling and engine oil leaks.
Haulage companies can also ensure their vehicles are equipped to deal with fuel and chemical leaks. A variety of carry bag spill kits are available designed to be accommodated in the vehicle cab.
The real message is to take sensible precautions and be prepared
To reduce the risk of spills when fuelling avoid overfilling.
Do allow room for fuel expansion in the tank.
Use a funnel when pouring fuel or oil from containers by hand. Use an oil absorbent pad to clean the funnel, and oil can and soak up any drips.
Ensure good maintenance and regular inspection of fuel lines, hydraulic connections and seals to avoid leaks.
Use Oil absorbent socks and pads to safely remove oils from water.
Dispose of all oily or fuel-soaked materials safely. They are not reusable. The spill kits include a secure tie disposable hazardous waste bag.
It is common to have a drip tray under the vehicle or boat engine. Check it regularly for signs of a leak and remember to fix the leak!
Choose the best combination of Spill Control equipment in relation to the spill risks involved.
More information and details of spill control products can be found at http://www.fireandsafetycentre.co.uk/