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 pipe.
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 diesel oil.
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 were identified:
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.
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 off site.
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% pure oil
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.
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 disposal.
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 that OPEC:
- 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.