What’s the easiest and fastest way to clean up an oil spill? There are three key steps you need to take to keep the damage contained and to eliminate the oil.
And speed is of the essence because oil spills are dangerous. Not only can oil contaminate water and soil, but it’s flammable too.
But if you are prepared with the right materials and know what to do, containing a spill isn’t rocket science.
Without preparation and the right materials, however, no amount of knowledge will be of much use. Read on for the three-step process:
A) How to prepare before a potential spill
Here are a few thing you should have handy, depending on the size of a potential spill: oil containment berms, booms, or socks, as well as a variety of absorbents.
The exact kind will depend on your situation and what kinds of spills you believe might be likely. Check in with your safety equipment specialist to see what might be appropriate and cost effective.
Of course, you should also have a fire extinguisher and various other safety equipment, including gloves, masks, and goggles.
B) The actual clean-up: the three step process
To clean up a spill as quickly and effectively as possible, just follow this three step cleanup procedure as quickly as possible. This will minimize any damage and prevent the spill from spreading and getting worse. Needless to say, if the spill is large, be sure to call the fire department as well.
1) Control the spill’s source
Before you do anything else, try to stop the source of the oil or at least slow down the rate at which any oil is released. If there’s a shut-off valve, shut it off. If a drum has been turned over, turn it right side up. If there’s a hole, plug it.
2) Contain the damage
Next thing you should do is contain the damage. If there are drains nearby, cover them first. Then arrange spill berms, booms, or absorbent socks around the area to secure it and prevent the oil from spreading.
3) Clean up the oil or other chemicals
Finally, bring out your absorbents and start cleaning up. Just drop pads, socks, or other types of absorbents onto the oil and then, once they’re saturated, gather them up into plastic bags or salvage drums. Repeat this process and continue to mop up until all the oil has been absorbed.
C) After the spill…
Don’t just walk away afterwards. Make sure that the soiled absorbents are disposed of properly. And, of course, also file any required reports with the EPA, OSHA, and state/local agencies.
And before you forget… replenish your supply of oil spill kits and absorbents. You’ll need them to be prepared just in case there’s another oil spill in your future.