Guidelines for action in case of oil spills in water:
First of all, in the event of a spill, qualified personnel, rescue teams, pollution control teams and workers of the company where the accident has occurred should always be asked to collaborate. The latter, especially, must be informed of what is happening at all times and collaborate with their means as much as possible.
After the spill, if the incident finally leads to or results in the contamination of the marine environment, rivers, lakes, etc., the guidelines for action are as follows:
- Contain and monitor the spilled substance.
- In the case of hydrocarbons, burning "in situ".
- Recovery of the product.
- Chemical dispersion.
- Cleaning of the affected areas.
These options, indicated above, are not arranged in order of effectiveness; depending on the moment, one or the other will be implemented, and one or more may be used.
Depending on the case, it is necessary to act in one way or another, minimizing the impact on the environment. Another oil spill situation that could occur would be a spill at sea, far from the coast. In these cases, depending on the quantities, it may not present a significant risk, so in many cases and due to the risk that any other action may present, the most convenient option is to monitor the evolution of the oil slick.
During this surveillance, a team composed of highly qualified personnel with the means to collect the oil should be put in place. If this is not possible, "in situ" burning should be carried out.
Methods of decontamination of a spill by hydrocabides in water:
In situ burning consists of the controlled burning of the spilled oil vapors at the site where they are found. But this method, obviously, has serious drawbacks such as a large production of CO2 and residues that persist in the environment once the incineration has ceased.
Chemical dispersion: Dispersants are chemical substances similar to detergents, which break the surface tension of the oil into small droplets (emulsion), thus diluting the harmful effects of the spill and facilitating the action of the bacteria present in the environment that digest the hydrocarbons. Not all dispersant substances can be used in the marine environment, as it has been found that in some cases they caused greater damage to the environment than the spilled fuel itself.