When large amounts of fluids, chemicals, sewage, petroleum and crude oil are spilled accidentally, a proper spill containment process needs to be in place to help prevent widespread damage to the workers, the ecology and the environment. Spills of any kind can also be a danger to workers as the substance that is spilled may cause people to lose their footing. Spills most often happen during the transporting of the goods by truck, train and ship.
There are various devices that are used to help contain spills such as: spill berms, flexible containments, absorbent products, acid storage, chemical tanks, chemical storage, containment berms, containment centers, containment pools, pillow tank, decontamination control, decontamination pools, drive-thru spill berm, drum storage, spill containment, drum basins, drum pallet kings, drum tippers, flammable cabinets, and flammable storage, etc.
Types of spill containment include:
- Booms: These are plastic or light material floating barriers that are placed around a spill in hopes to contain it in one area.
- Skimmers: These are boats, tugs and other types of ships that are used to skim the oil or other spill from the surface of the water.
- Burning: Sometimes after the spilled oil or flammable liquid is collected, it can be directly burnt. However this process is highly controversial and requires health and other government authorities to allow it.
- Dispersants: These are chemicals that are used to disperse the oil into the water and can be used by aircrafts and ships.
- Absorbents: These are materials such as sawdust and finely ground substances that are poured onto spills to absorb the liquid.
Oil spills can cause large scale destruction of habitats and endanger valuable plant and animal species. If the spill occurs near a city, then it is generally considered to be a disaster as the oil can also ruin drinking water. Oil spills are often caused when large, super tankers rupture, run aground or have an accident. They may even be caused when oil rigs or underground pipelines are ruptured. However, oil spills from tankers could be greatly reduced if tighter restrictions were put in place such as a secondary containment compartments and stronger hulls in the ship and if the oil could only be transported in barrels.
There are other types of items being used to help reduce spills such as storage and transportation tanks that can contain spills, leaks and overfills. Other items include weather-tight seals, anti-siphon valves, shear valves, basins, bibs, funnels, skimmers, drip pans and containment sumps.