How to Contain and Clean an Oil Spill

Whether you accidentally knocked over a gallon of motor oil onto your driveway or realize that a machine at work is leaking profusely, you want to contain the oil as quickly as possible. During the cleaning process, be sure that there are as few people as possible in the spill zone as oil can be flammable. It can also be hazardous to breathe without a mask or other ventilation system.

Contain the Spill

The first step is to determine the cause of the leak or spill and contain the area. For simple spills, this can be done by putting a cardboard or other type of box over the area covered by the oil. For larger spills, you may need to erect physical barriers to keep the oil in a small enough area to clean in a reasonable amount of time. During the containment process, be sure to warn anyone in the area about the spill and the potential dangers that may lurk.

Clean the Impacted Area

If a spill is limited to your garage or driveway, it may be possible to clean the spill with a paper towel or a mop. If the spill occurs in a warehouse or in a retail location, it may be necessary to both clean the oil and ensure that there are no fumes or cross-contamination. For example, a grocery store may want to remove any food items that came into contact with oil or an employee covered in it.

Be Sure to Correct the Problem

Once you determine why the spill occurred, it is important to take steps to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. For example, you may want to implement better storage procedures in your home or implement new rules for how industrial machines are inspected. In serious cases, it may be worthwhile to submit to a New York City oil and gas inspection.