Oil and Chemical Spill Capture Systems: How This Technology Can Help the Environment

12 December 2018

Oils and chemicals play important roles. The cleverly formulated fluids lubricate machines and form countless artificially created substances. Even the plastics industry counts on hydrocarbons and complex compounds. Plainly essential, all of these fluids are safe when they’re contained. If they’re accidentally spilled, however, then all bets are off. Oil and chemical spills damage the environment, perhaps for years. And, if they’re toxic, the spill can endanger life and limb.

Which Oils and Chemicals Cause Damage?

Even vegetable oil spillages can cause environmental damage. Natural oils aren’t acutely toxic, obviously, but they coat bird feathers and choke waterways. Petroleum-based oils are much more dangerous, although most oils don’t combust easily. Fuels are clearly flammable. Then there are chemical reagents, which could discharge toxic fumes. Corrosive by nature, such substances are biologically inimical to the local environment. They hurt life. And, should they enter a local water table or river network, that damage could spread far and wide.

Directly Applied Spill Capture Systems

A new generation of polymers have entered the field. They’re porous and highly absorbent, so they quickly absorb large quantities of spilled hydrocarbons and other petroleum-related fluids. Manufactured as discrete elements, “imbiber” beads clear chemical spills on hard surfaces, drain contaminants, and stop environmentally harmful chemicals from entering the soil, where they’d then find their way to a waterway. Eliminating the risk of repeat contamination, toxic fluids remain trapped in absorbent beads until a clear-up service can be dispatched.

Oil and Chemical Spill Capture Systems

Prefabricated spillage solutions stop spills or redirect them, so there’s no need for any imbiber beads, which themselves still require a clean-up service. The goal here, as with a stormwater drainage network, is to capture the fluid and redirect it, to stop it from entering a region’s water supply or ground soil. Even electricals substations introduce risk factors here, with their oil-filled cores leaking over time. Spill capture systems are employed as sealed gravel pits in this situation. If the transformer does leak, it’ll soak into the gravel. The oil can’t penetrate this kerb-framed basin. Similar strategies are used within chemical processing plants. In addition to this safety measure, though, expect sump pumps and specially constructed containment dams, plus sorbents and subsurface tanks.

Purpose-built solutions are required to stop specific chemical types and slippery oils. Sorbents and sump pumps dynamically process and evacuate the mucky, environment damaging fluids while containment dams and gravel pits form first lines of defence. Then, to contain the fluids until a permanent solution is legislated, there are biological agents and collecting solutions to stop oils and chemicals from spreading. Containment comes first, of course, as delivered by a spill capture system, then the compound dissipating measures are applied.

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