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The three Cs of managing oil spills on roads or hard surfaces

Supplier: Global Spill Control
21 September, 2018

Keep calm and find out the three essentials to managing any road or hard surface oil spills.

The following three basic steps of an oil clean up are ONLY to be used on hard surfaces such as roads, carparks and concrete floors. This is because once the spill has reached soil or any broken ground, the clean up procedure becomes much more difficult.

This basic style of managing a spill is used for small to medium oil and fuel spills (a few litres). In the event of a major spill, different techniques would be more appropriate.

Before we can spell out the three Cs and get on to cleaning up the spill, we need to ensure that the area of the spill is safe to enter. Make sure that any traffic cannot enter the area and that the spill clean up crew can work safely. Also be aware of fumes and approach the spill site from upwind. Always ensure that personal protection equipment is worn.

1. Control

Stop the source of the spill. For example, upright the drum or stop the pump, turn off all ignition sources and locate the drains.

2. Contain

Use absorbent booms, banks of soil, hoses or any safe objects to surround and prevent the spill from further impacting the environment. Often with a spill onto a hard surface, the liquid will travel very quickly in the initial few moments. Prevent the spill from entering drains and culverts. Drains often lead to the broader environment and can create larger problems. Dangerous fumes can also build up in low lying areas.

3. Clean up

Large pools of spilled liquid should be recovered with absorbent pillows and pads. The remaining spill should be covered with a layer of ground absorbent or floorsweep, which is used to absorb any free liquid. These absorbents are swept into the spill with brooms or a road sweeper. All absorbent materials should be reclaimed and disposed of in accordance with local regulations.