In January 2000 an oil spill
occurred in the North of England. It was estimated
up to 30,000 litres of diesel fuel had escaped the
fuel storage tanks of a major factory due to a burst
Fortunately most of the spilled
oil found its way to a nearby drainage facility owned
by the local Water Authority.
Due to neglect the drainage outlet pipe
that feeds the fresh water river was blocked, thus a large
lagoon formed out of rainwater was present and this is where
the oil had settled.
The local Water Authority and the Environment
Agency was called in to try and solve the problem. It was
suggested by specialist advice to use a weir skimmer, adsorbent
booms and a large separator tank to recover the spilled
This methodology proved to be inefficient
and non-effective. After one week of skimming, pumping and
separating using this equipment only one half filled 200
litre oil drum was used.
Another system was clearly needed and
OPEC was contacted.
OPEC Site Assessment
After a brief consultation with the site
managers and a survey of the spill two main problem areas
1. The spilled oil was entering the drainage
area through the inlet pipe and the gravel which surrounded
the pipe. There was still a large amount of oil still to
find its way to the drainage area. This designated entrance
needed to be contained.
2. The oil which was present at the spill
site prior to our arrival had been blown into one corner
by the prevailing wind. This area needed to be cleaned.
OPEC designs, manufactures and sells
systems for containment, recovery and temporary storage
of oil pollution. Once this has been achieved the recovered
oil can be taken away for safe disposal or for recycling.
With this in mind the following system was set up.
Problem Area 1
It was noted that adsorbent booms are
not suitable to contain oil. Their purpose is to help in
the recovery of spilled oil not for containment. For this
reason OPEC's Inflatable River Boom was deployed around
the inlet pipe. The boom created a seal from one side of
the embankment to the other. Now any oil that discharges
itself into the spill site would not go any further than
the designated boomed area.
An E-Series mop skimmer unit was deployed
above the inlet pipe to recover the contained oil on water.
Using a 30 metre CMF6 STD OPEC mop and OPEC Floating Pulleys
the E-Series mopped up the oil in the contained area.
A portable electric generator powered
the machine and a small portable pump moved the contents
into temporary storage oil drum containers ready for removal
Within the first
3 days of operation the system had recovered more
than 4,500 litres of diesel fuel.
The E-Series mop skimmer system
picks up very little free water and uses a special
separator tank to ensure that the recovered material
that is pumped to temporary storage is virtually 100%
The oil that had escaped prior
to our arrival on site was easily dealt with using
OPEC Hand Mops. The Hand Mops use the same fabric
as the OPEC mop and have a very long life span. Only
two mops were needed to complete the job.
The OPEC Hand Mop system uses an open top 200 litre
drum fitted with an adjustable hand wringer. The wringer
squeezes the oil off the mop so that the mop can be
reused over and over again.
The contaminated area was cleaned-up using this system
leaving only a bloom of oil on the water surface in
the drainage area.
|Fig. 1 View of Problem
|Fig. 2 A view from behind of Problem
After flushing much of the diesel out
via the inlet pipe it was decided by the site management
team that the area needed to be drained and then excavated
and the contaminated land be transported for proper waste
Once the area was excavated and a fresh
top soil was applied the E-Series was relocated to the other
side of the drainage spill site and was vertically deployed
on the interceptor connected to the outlet pipe to mop up
any residual oil that was released from the resultant groundwater.
This method of pollution prevention dramatically reduced
the cost and ecological impact of this spill, benefiting
both the polluter and our fresh watercourses.
This emergency response project illustrates
- Can provide the user with a complete
system for oil containment, recovery and temporary storage.
- Uses simple but effective techniques
for oil pollution response.
- Provides the user with honest informative
specialist advice to do the job right first time.
- Equipment is versatile and can be
used in a number of different configurations to suit the
needs of the job at hand.
- Equipment requires very little maintenance
and is completley self operational.
- Equipment is safe and efficient.
- Ensures waste minimisation at its
best - no need for large qunatities of adsorbent pads
and booms to dipose of in toxic waste dumps.
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