Most of the oil we use in vehicles, machinery, and in various industries is found below the surface of the earth and is generally mined in the middle of our oceans. When machinery breaks or malfunctions, literal tons of oil can end up seeping into the environment. The problem with oil spills is that they are often catastrophic – they disturb pH/salinity levels, pollute water/air and kill animals and plants.
Oil from spills in the ocean or freshwater doesn’t “blend” with the water. Instead, it spreads out, forming a thin layer on the surface of the water. When that happens, the oil could end up blocking sunlight, making it hard for light to reach different oceanic environments. When oil from an oil spill reaches land, it also affects the soil, vegetation and animals found along shorelines. Ultimately, oil spills, whether small or large, can have a huge impact on entire ecosystems as they kill off marine animals and vegetation.
What Causes Oil Spills?
Most oil spills happen accidentally and can occur at any time during:
– Handling: as oils are being used or transferred
– Offshore Drilling: drilling the wrong place or far too deep into a seabed can cause pressure from our planet’s crust to spew millions of gallons of oil into the water – and onto the surface due to oil’s buoyancy.
– Transportation: a spill can happen while crude or processed oil is being transported from one location to another using different vessels (oil tankers on water or trucks and trains on land.)
– Maintenance: cleaning of tanker trucks or ships may release oil into roads and navigable water.
How Are Oil Spills Cleaned Up?
There are several ways that oil spills are cleaned up. The method used is usually determined by the type of spill, the size of the spill, and the environment where the spill has occurred. Common options used to clean up or manage oil spills include:
Booms and Skimmers: This cleanup option is made up of two parts: the boom, which floats and absorbs some oil and the skimmer, which collects the oil. Booms are barriers (floating) and are placed around whatever’s leaking oil or even the spill itself. A skimmer is a device for recovering spilled oil from the water’s surface. Skimmers may be self-propelled, used from shore, or operated from vessels. The efficiency of skimmers is highly dependent upon conditions at sea.
In Situ Burning: This option involves igniting freshly spilled oil while it is still floating allowing it to burn out.
Bioremediation: Bioremediation is the use of microbes to clean up contaminated water, soil and groundwater. Some types of microbes eat and digest contaminants, usually changing them into small amounts of water and harmless gases like carbon dioxide and ethene. This approach, in combination with other remediation techniques, is highly recommended as it is more natural and friendlier to the environment.
ADsorb-it® – Oil & Water Filtration Products
ADsorb-it oil and water filtration products are designed to remove oil, oil-based contaminants, suspended solids, and oil sheen from water. All products are reusable and are made from recycled waste fibers acquired from the textile manufacturing industry. The good thing about these products is that they are all reusable and could ultimately be used as a fuel source (through waste to energy incineration) once they’ve served their purpose.
Our products, such as ADsorb-it® Wipes, Boom Cover, ADsorb-it® Filtration Fabric, Shore Guard™ “Dumbo Surfer”, Vault Maintenance System, Filter Socks, Centipede, Filter Boom, and Oil Sweep, amongst others are made using a heavy-duty polyester thread that’s resistant to prolonged exposure to contaminants and the elements.
Our products are used:
For Shoreline Protection: Used to protect shorelines and other uneven surfaces such as streambeds from oil and oil-borne contaminants on land or in water; they help protect the surrounding environment in the event of an oil spill.
As Ditch or Pond Liners: They are excellent for retention ponds or drainage ditches where oil pollution is a problem.
For Stormwater Filtration: Can be used to control bacterial proliferation, filter oil, and other oil-borne contaminants in catch basins, retention ponds, ditches and piping, and sumps.
For Wastewater Filtration: Can be used in grease traps and interceptors or to filter industrial mop water.
For Oil Water Separation: Can be used as a filter before the final discharge to remove oil sheen.
As a Source of Fuel: ADsorb-it® products can be incinerated for their fuel value once they’ve served their purpose. Their BTU/lb rating is higher than that of coal and the products are incinerable to less than 1 percent residual ash.