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Here Are The Best Oil Spill Clean-up Methods That Can Prevent Water Pollution To A Great Extent

Water pollution is one of the biggest concerns today, and oil spills contribute a significant part in it. History has it that oil spills have negatively impacted the marine ecosystem several times. Numbers also testify to the same. According to figures, around three million metric tons of oil pollute the oceans every year, taking a toll on marine life and the entire ecosystem. 

Fortunately, the advances of science and technology have made it possible to control the oil spill. Every oil company uses the most advanced and potent liquid filtration products and methods to remove oil from oceans and seas and protect against the environmental deterioration it causes. 

In this article, we will introduce you to the best oil spill clean-up methods. Take a look. 

  • Oil blooms 

Using oil blooms is one of the most potent measures of controlling oil spills. Containment booms are placed around the spills to arrest the spread of oil. 

There are a few drawbacks of using this process. Oil booms are effective but can be used only when the spill is contained in one spot. The booms need to be placed within a few hours of spilling, or else the oil will spread over a large area making it very difficult to manage. Furthermore, high-velocity winds, fluctuating tides, or rough sea waves prevent it from staying in place. 

  • Skimmers 

Skimmers remove contaminants from the water surface. These machines suck the oil from the water surface. The oil is then filtered and processed for further use. 

The only downfall of this technique is that the skimmers sometimes get clogged due to debris, hindering the operations. 

  • Dispersants 

Using dispersant is another way of cleaning oil spills. Dispersants are chemicals that are spread over the oil spills to break the oil components. They increase the surface area of the oil molecules allowing them to chemically bond with water. After this chemical reaction, the slick remains at its place and does not spread over water. 

Along with water, the oil also gets mixed with debris and sand, forming large tarballs that float on the surface of water and travel to the shores. 

This process efficiently cleans oil spread over a large area. However, the toxic nature of dispersants takes its toll on marine organisms. 

  • Sorbents 

Using sorbent is another technique used for oil spill clean-up. Sorbent materials like hay, straw, vermiculite, and peat moss absorb the liquid either by pulling it through the pores (absorption) or forming a layer on the surface (adsorption). 

This process allows for the recovery of oil preventing its wastage. But the process is potent when the spill is small because after absorption, the sorbents become very heavy, and the risk of their sinking multiplies by manifolds. 

Sorbents are also very effective in removing the leftover traces of large spills. 

  • High-pressure washing 

High-pressure washing is a desirable method in situations where oil cannot be removed by mechanical measures, like skimmers and booms. It removes weathered and trapped oil from places where machinery cannot reach. 

The water is heated at 170 degrees using water heaters and then spread with high-pressure nozzles and wands. The oil is then flushed to the surface and collected with sorbents or skimmers. 

The only drawback of this technique is that spraying hot water affects the organisms under the direct spray zones. 

The bottom line 

Oil spills have always adversely affected nature. With these measures, it is now easy for companies to manage oil spills caused by mishaps before they could hamper the ecosystem. 

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