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  Case Study / Inland Heavy Fuel Oil Spill  
 


Introduction

 

A major oil spill occurred as a result of a deliberate act of vandalism during the Christmas holiday period of 1987, at a major stone quarry in Derbyshire, United Kingdom.

The senior management of the company concerned were called out. The Police and Water Authority were duly informed of the incident.

The oil, which was 3,500 secs heavy fuel oil, had only been delivered a few days before the spill incident and was stored in specially heated tanks. Total quantity of oil which escaped was estimated to be approximately 350 tonnes.

General view of the spill site, series 5000 and road tankers

The oil initially found its way into the surface water drainage system. Within two days of the spill the area experienced heavy rainfall.

The water deluge took the spilled oil through a railway embankment and settled as a pond of floating oil with an indeterminate amount of oil on the bottom, which had seeped through prior to the heavy rains.
A tanker company was called in to deal with the problem. They provided a large hydraulically driven submersible pump and road tanker units fitted with gulper (gully sucker) pumps.


OPEC'S Involvement

On the third day of the operation, it was realised that the pumps deployed were mainly pumping water. It was considered necessary to request the use of specialist equipment to uplift the surface oil with a much reduced amount of water. OPEC.'s local agent was contacted for assistance. We responded with a site visit that day. It was two days later before we received confirmation to go ahead. During that time, the company on whose premises the spill had occurred, cut a new temporary road access to site, to enable tankers and the Series 5000 to be positioned in the best possible way.

We were advised that up to the time we arrived on site, only three tanker loads of oil and four part loads of mainly water and a nominal amount of oil had been removed.

The Series 5000 was set up and the integral transfer pump was connected to flexible hoses, in order to deliver the recovered oil, by top loading into road tankers.

From the time that we set up during the afternoon of the day of arrival on site and up to the evening of the following day, the Series 5000 had transferred 6 full tanker loads of oil.

The clean up operation

 

Fig. 1 shows a general view of the site and pinpoints the initial position of the Series 5000. Note that the "pond" had been made narrow at about a mid-point and a temporary scaffold had been erected from which was suspended the hydraulically driven submersible pump. This later proved to be a limiting factor, since although the Series 5000 unit was pulling the surface oil towards it, the restriction introduced by narrowing the "pond" meant that the first part was cleared of oil and then had to be filled in, so that the equipment could be re-deployed.

 

Fig. 1 Spill Site - general view

 

 

Fig. 2 gives a clear indication of the down-reach and outreach of the equipment.Note that even within a few minutes of starting the operation, signs of oily material flow to the machine became apparent.

 

 

Fig. 2 Deployment mode of Series 5000 - A side view

 

Fig. 3 begins to give a clearer picture of the oil movement to the equipment by the action and direction of the chain belt. Also it is a good illustration of how simple it is to operate. The operator is just visible on the opposite side of the machine, well away from the point at which the oil is removed and transfer pumped from the machine to road tanker. Again, even within ten minutes of the operation starting, a tide mark around the whole of the "pond" becomes visible.



Fig. 3 Pull of oil to the machine begins to be apparent. Note top of loading tanker

 

Fig. 4 is the best available shot of the main drive roller meshing with the chain belt, at which point the oily material is removed. The recovered oil is deposited in the hopper directly below the roller. This is just visible to the right hand side of the protective fabric cover which is there to stop residual splashing of oil during machine transit on site from one operating position to another. From this point the oil is pulled through the integral transfer pump to tank storage or road tanker.

 

 

 

Fig. 4 View of oil removed from chain belt into chain hopper.

 

Fig. 5 and 6. These two close ups show the oily material being drawn to the equipment, even from the side.
When the surface oil was eventually removed, some of the oil on the bottom was also uplifted with the Series 5000, but there was a problem of the bottom lying oil since some was entrapped in foliage, i.e. long grass and small shrubs.

The Series 5000 has obvious potential and should be used for permanent installations on oil dumps and lagoons. It has also tremendous potential for use on asphalt pits and lagoons of oily material in Venezuela.

Fig. 5 Close up view of surface oil being pulled towards the Series 5000 by the action of the chain belt
Fig. 6 Close up view of surface oil being pulled towards the Series 5000 by the action of the chain belt

 

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