Oil Spills on Cuyahoga

fuel-and-oil-spill-kitsCleveland is a city that has a number of assets going for it. It is active in many sports, it sits astride the blue stretches of Lake Erie, and it hosts the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame. But until recently, it held another, more dubious record. It’s river, the Cuyahoga, was once so polluted that is actually caught fire – not once, but multiple times.

The city features a strongly industrial past. The areas surrounding the city itself were ringed with steel mills, and in the years before the environmental movement of the 1960s, few bylaws existed in regards to oily effluents, and oil spill kits were completely absent from the scene. This reality was taken full advantage of.

While smaller fires had been reported on the river earlier in its lifetime, when oil on the water’s surface caught fire in 1952, it quickly spread up and down the lengths of the worst-polluted stretch of the river. The damage, to road and railway bridges and an adjoining office building, was extensive, exceeding $1 million US. This was repeated in 1969.

Concern over this instance led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Along with a downturn in the market for steel, and aggressive revival work on the river and it’s banks, the river – and much of Lake Erie – was offered a new lease on life. Instances such as these are a prime reason that oil spill kits, and pollution awareness, took hold in the 1960s, and has bred a more responsible view to environmental concerns today.

A Difficult Environment for an Oil Spill Kit

Spill Kits by EcospillWhen the Exxon Valdez struck a reef in Prince William Sound in 1989, it’s double hulls were penetrated almost immediately. The ship, stuck firmly on the reef, began to haemorrhage it’s cargo of crude oil in to the depths of the sound, where the strong tidal currents of the area quickly distributed it along the coastline.

But unlike a large number of oil spill sites, the unique landscape and location of the sound has provided one of the toughest cleanup situations found anywhere in the world. Compared to the Gulf of Mexico spill in 2010 or the Torrey Canyon in 1967, the Exxon Valdez has provided far longer-reaching impacts and difficulties.

The first reason is the landscape. The shingle and rock beaches of the area provide innumerable nooks and crannies for oil to hide, to slowly leach in to the water and surrounding areas. Even now, thirty years later, you can turn over rocks on beaches and find oil from the Valdez. Oil spill kits, and absorbent mats, are simply unable to reach the substance.

Another reason is the climate of southern Alaska. The cold weather allows the oil to congeal in to harder lumps, which take considerably longer to break down. They also sink more readily, and dispersants struggle to access them on the ocean floor.

Finally, the tidal conditions of the area managed to spread the oil widely among the islands and shorelines of this area. It meant it was highly difficult to trap with booms, and that they seldom settled long enough for collection.

The residents of the area have not soon forgotten the impact that this event had on their beautiful home region. In fact, it is a key reason that British Columbia, to the south, doesn’t allow oil tankers close to the coast. As big an impact as it had, it is hope that an oil spill like this can lead to some lessons learnt, and an evolution in oil spill kits and absorbent mats, to improve their function in these extreme environments.

Erosion & Sediment Control Products by Ecospill

Erosion Sediment Control is necessary when undertaking any works where soil and vegetation is moved or disturbed. This is especially important in all construction sites, projects, road works and other similar tasks where sediment run-off can cause pollution or other risk of damage. The ability to manage water velocity and water turbidity is vital to stop erosion, and destruction of works or adjacent sites.

Ecospill is pleased to offer our range of Erosion Sediment Control products that help control run-off and help keep your site environmentally compliant. View our most popular products here or call us at any time on 1300 736 116 for immediate advice and friendly service. You can also quick download our catalogue here:

Erosion Sediment Control Cover

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A Spill Kit Scenario


It’s just another day in the warehouse when all of a sudden a loud crash alerts you to danger. A drum has fallen, draining its contents onto the floor. In the fight to clean spills, absorbents are your best friend, which is why they are the main component of any good spill kit.

Absorbents, when laid down properly, minimize the area affected by a spill. No matter what has spilt, be it oil, petroleum, corrosive chemicals, or even bodily fluids, applying absorbents will be one of the first steps you take after assessing the situation. However, it is important you use the right type of absorbent on a spill. Laying down the wrong absorbent can cause more serious environmental or health hazards than the original spill.

Thankfully, absorbents have been created for various types of hazards and have easy-to-read labels and colours to help in determining the right one for the job. For example, oil and petroleum absorbents are outdoor-resilient and often white or brown; white is easy to see when it has reached full saturation and needs to be changed, while brown is for longer term and often serves as a preventative, while not being an eyesore.

For corrosive chemicals and hazardous liquids, it is extremely important to use the right absorbent. Many absorbents have strong chemicals themselves, so if mixed with the wrong type of chemical spill, they can cause unwanted heat reactions and lead to more serious issues.

There are, however, absorbents that are less toxic (thus more environmentally friendly) and created to be more applicable to a wider range of spills. Two great examples of this are the EcoSweep and ChemSorb absorbents. The EcoSweep is a natural, organic, bio-active absorbent that quickly absorbs fuel, oil, solvents, cooking oil, sewage and other messy liquid spills. ChemSorb is a chemical absorbent that is non-toxic and is less powdery than other absorbents, due to its density, allowing for fast and outstanding absorbency. To protect the natural environment and ourselves, we at Ecospill are ready to go to work.

A Spill Kit Scenario

Blog 15

You don’t become Australia’s second busiest airport and one of the busiest import/export airports in the world without great service and high standards for safety. However, even at a world-class facility like Melbourne’s Tullamarine International Airport, accidents happen.

Just a few months ago, an acid leak in the freight section of the airport caused one person to come in contact with the chemical and eight total people were hospitalized. Local and airport firefighters moved in quickly, cleaning the leak with spill kits and moving the faulty containers to hazmat drums. Quick work and easy access to chemical spill kit supplies helped prevent the hydrofluoric acid from seriously hurting anyone else. Thankfully, all eight of the hospitalised were sent home and there were no major disruption in air traffic.

Hydrofluoric acid is used for serious cleaning applications and metal treatments and can cause serious burns to skin and airways. At its worst, it can lead to blindness and death. Thankfully this happened on land and not in the skies. A major crisis averted indeed! So hats off to firefighters for a job well done.

It’s examples like this that show the importance of having safety supplies on hand. Even at the most well established places, accidents happen. The proper placement and upkeep of safety equipment, like spill kits, can mean the difference between a major contamination and a small, controllable problem. If you are ever unsure about what equipment you need or where you should place them, contact a local professional that will assist you in having the maximum effectiveness in a crisis. No matter if the spill is big or small, the faster it is cleaned, the faster people and your business can feel safe again.

Environmental Spill Kits and Train Travel

blog 14Train travel has been a staple of both human and product transport for over a century now, and its importance has waxed and waned over the years. Of late, however, it has become among a staple method of moving one of most vital substances to modern life and industry, and this has come with a number of consequences for spill management environmental stewardship, and spill kits worldwide.

The movement of crude oil around the world occurs at a fast pace, and takes the substance through a number of different stages. Crude must be transported to processing plants, which then must be moved to its eventual consumers. The large distances between these areas, and the volume of oil that is needed, has bred a number of different methods.

Pipelines have been built across numerous areas of the world, but their construction has been controversial, as both an environmental risk, and for the rights of landholders. To keep the oil moving, thousands of tanker cars are moving across the world’s tracks, shipping crude and processed oil around the world. With little regulatory oversight, and using some tankers of considerable antiquity, a number of derailments have become big news – involving the use of environmental spill kits on a huge scale.

Due to the fact that many train lines were built as passenger-focused transport, a lot of current lines run right through populated areas. These same lines are now playing host to heavy transport trains, moving thousands of barrels of oil. Predictably, some derailments have been catastrophic, including one in Lac Megantic in Canada’s east, which decimated a small town and cost nearly fifty lives.

At EcoSpill, we believe that ensuring our environmental agencies are well equipped to tackle spills of any size is a vital element of this service. Keeping the public aware of the oil running across our train lines is a key aspect of public safety, and awareness of the potential cost of this practice should be a priority.

Trouble on Fraser Island: Spill Containment Kits for Queensland’s Shores

blog 13In a state that is not short of superlatives, Fraser Island stands out strongly. The world’s largest sand island is a product of 750 000 of years of erosion working its magic along the coast of Australia, as sediments, carried by a strong northerly ocean current, wrapped around the Sandy National Park and deposited them on the 120 kilometre expanse of Fraser Island.

With its huge expanse, numerous clear freshwater lakes, and sand dunes, it is among the most impressive sights in the coastal region. It is also a considerable tourist attraction. It is understandable, then, how locals and park rangers would be somewhat upset when they discovered oil washing ashore in late November, obliging them to break out their spill containment kits.

The oil was coming on to the beach in small ‘patties’, congealed cakes, and while they were not large, it was of primary concern that the oil be cleaned and removed before it became a threat to birds and onshore wildlife. But more than this, it became apparent that this oil would be difficult to trace. By any estimation, it had been released in to the ocean offshore, but the location, and the timing, was anyone’s guess.

With the swift application of spill containment kits, the beach was duly cleaned, although it was an arduous project. Meanwhile, inspired individuals began to utilise Automatic Identification Systems, or AIS ship-tracking software, to try and trace what ships would have been in the area over the course of the last several months. It is a long list. However, there is hope that if a ship is traced, and is within the border limits of Australian territory, they can be brought to justice, and obliged to pay for sullying this piece of natural beauty.

Emergency Shower and Eye Wash Testing

Emergency Shower Testing Service

When seconds make all the difference… you need to know that an Emergency Shower will deploy the second you need it to.

And not just ‘turn on’ but work to the dousing standard it was designed to.  Emergency Showers and Eye Wash Units need to be regularly tested, and given an annual thorough service to make sure they are working efficiently.  But Shower Testing just can’t be taken for granted, or left for someone to “get around to” when they maybe find the time.  Ecospill offers a comprehensive, thorough annual inspection service to ensure peace of mind, the very second you need it!

Click here to download our Emergency Shower Testing Flier

Book your Emergency Shower Testing today – call 1300 736 116.

The Evolution of Spill Response Training in Australia

blog-12Proper spill response training has evolved over time, through experience, and an appreciation for the risks of spills. Our current methods did not come about overnight, however – they required some considerable trial-and-error, much of which occurred throughout the course of the 20th century. Prior to this, methods of marine spill remediation were considerably more primitive – and in some cases, non-existent.

The Petriana was among the largest oil tankers in the world when it was built. It was capable of carrying an oily payload of 1300 tons, more than almost any other ship on earth. However, as has been repeatedly illustrated, size is not indicative of infallibility. This was proven when she ran firmly aground on Portsea Back Beach, on a foggy afternoon in 1903, just shy of her goal of Melbourne.

The sand was holding her fast, and with a flooded engine room and stokehold, she was without power. A pair of local tugs attempted to pull her off the beach, without success. It was then decided that the only option was to lighten the ship. The valves were opened. And 1300 tons of sweet light crude, naptha, and benzene joined the foaming waters off Portsea.

Today, a spill of this magnitude, fouling a famous beach, would be national news. But in 1903, before the full environmental impact of these substances had become known, the event was not taken to be altogether serious. Local papers described it as a colourful sheen, stretching for miles in either direction. Little notice was taken of the damage being wrought upon local species of fish and bird life.

All was for naught, as it turns out – the once-sturdy Petriana was damaged beyond repair by the pounding of the surf, and could not be salvaged. Occasionally, a piece of her is turned up in the sand off Portsea Back Beach, a relic of a time when spill response training, and marine spill remediation, was considerably less developed in the lucky land.

Spill Kits – What’s Best For Your Application

Spill Kits

Every industrial workshop in Australia that stores and makes use of fuels, oils, non-aggressive liquids and chemicals is required to have a spill kit to prevent pollution caused by a leak or spill of any kind. What one suits your workplace?

Types Of Spill Kits

  • Oil & Fuel Spill Kits – For any fuel, oil, petroleum, diesel and other hydrocarbon liquid spills
  • General Purpose Spill Kits – For fuel and oil spills, and non-aggressive chemical spills like coolants, agricultural chemicals, etc.
  • Chemical Spill Kits – Specifically meant for restricting and cleaning up aggressive chemical spills and leaks, such as acidic or caustic liquids
  • Mercury Spill Kits – Kits designed particularly to handle all stages of mercury spills
  • Laboratory & Body Fluid Spill Kits – For effectively cleaning up organic waste liquid spills

Things To Consider While Choosing A Kit

1. The type of liquid(s) to be absorbed

  • Every kit comes equipped with absorbent powder, mats and socks for a specific type of liquid.
Liquid Type Spill Kit To Be Used
Fuels & Oils Hydrocarbon Spill Kits
Marine Spill Kits
Non-aggressive Chemicals General Purpose Spill Kits
Premium Hydrocarbon Spill Kits
Automotive Spill Kits
Service Station Spill Kits
Chemicals Hazchem Spill Kits
Premium Hazchem Spill Kits

2. The quantity to be absorbed

  • You will get an idea of the largest ‘likely’ spill from your largest liquid container or holding tank.

3. Portability and placement of the kit

  • Ideally, a spill kit should be in close proximity to the spill-prone areas in a workshop.
  • Some of the options available are:
    • Wheelie bin spill kits for easy maneuverability around a workshop
    • Transport kits if you require the spill kit to be confined in the cab of a crane or a truck
    • ‘Weatherproof’ carry bag kits if you need a larger spill kit that can be carried to the spill site.