Silt socks and silt curtains are a common sight on many Australian worksites, particular during the rainier seasons. Situated properly, they are intended to keep topsoil from running directly off of exposed land and in to the drain. At first look, it is for the protection of the property, and that is certainly true – but the issue of silt in our river systems doubles the stakes.
Runoff and Silt
Almost every river in the world carries a certain amount of silt with it. It gives them their distinctive colour and a piece of their character, and when the ocean slows and reaches the ocean, it gives them their wide, fertile delta. The river’s path through its headwaters, when it is running more quickly, carves out deep valleys, and brings these nutrients with it downstream.
Most organisms and life in a given river have grown accustomed to the visibility and environment. It is when these key attributes are altered that we run the risk of environmental damage.
Case Study: The Murray-Darling System
Australia’s longest river, the Murray-Darling system dominates the watersheds of Victoria, New South Wales, eastern South Australia, and southern Queensland. Heavily exploited, the river is also a classic case of heavy siltification causing damage to species dwelling in its depths.
In this case, siltification is only partly due to construction practices. Invasive carp, brought here from Europe, are bottom feeders, filtering the muck from the river bottom through their mouths and gills for food. Their ability to breed quickly meant that all but the uppermost reaches of the river system are now playing host to these fish, muddying the water year-round.
The impact upon fish species has been profound. The Murray Cod population is perhaps a tenth of what it was historically, as they are primarily sight feeders, and cannot compete in these new, murkier reaches. Australian bass and river blackfish have been similarly affected. Research continues on how best to cope with this threat, but if we can stop this same impact on a smaller scale, we can ideally maintain some habitats in a more pristine state.
At EcoSpill, we provide premium spill kits to clients across Australia, and have done so for many years. But this time and experience has taught us that no matter the quality of the kit itself, it is only as good as the people deploying it.
That is why we have long provided training methods and videos, on the proper methods of deploying our equipment. We want to ensure that every member of your staff is capable of containing a spill, and proper education and experience are the best methods of making this a reality.
So what are the fundamentals?
If the spill kits aren’t located in a high-traffic area, one that is close to the most likely scenes of spillage, the delay in deployment can have dire consequences. This is important, as more watery liquids can quickly run off in to drains or gutters. Speed is essential, so ensure that your kit is placed properly, and this location is known to everyone.
Next, you’ll need to ensure that your staff is well-versed on how to deploy your spill kit. Reading the instructions, and examining the contents of your spill kit, is a good step. Actually having them tackle a live spill, in one of our EcoSpill courses, is a better one.
Our spill kits include instruction on their usage, but it is far better to know these basic instructions prior to needing them. Specific deployment methods, in regards to encircling the spill, absorbing it, and most importantly, protecting yourself, are specific to the substance your kit is intended to tackle, and spill kit training from EcoSpill will help to crystallise your deployment.
How to use your spill kit properly, when called upon, is vital knowledge for all your employees. At EcoSpill, we can help to ensure they are properly trained. Contact us today to find out more.
As our population swells and continues to urbanise, people are becoming more and more aware of the value of a pristine environment. People want an area that looks natural, for their streams and rivers to run clean, and for the air and the soil to be unsullied by industrial practices and traces of humanity. Oil spill kits, from your friends at EcoSpill, are built to ensure this.
That is just one of the reasons that in 2014, the state of New South Wales implemented a new set of environmental regulations, ones which instituted some of the toughest fines for polluters to be found anywhere. As part of a ten-fold increase in on-the-spot fines for polluters, it was intended as a broader attempt to prevent the degradation of our natural assets, to deter potential polluters, and has been mirrored in neighbouring states since its introduction. Here are some examples of it, in action.
Oil and water are a classic case of two elements that don’t mix. When a few hundred litres of oil were spilt after a pipe ruptured at the Viva Energy site in Greenwich, local residents were up in arms, ringing the EPA on their hotline. The fines are pending, but the firm was left no one in any doubt that locals take the preservation of Sydney Harbour’s waters as a high priority.
The Great Barrier Reef is among Australia’s most well-known natural landmarks, and a huge draw for tourists. Little wonder, then, that we are somewhat sensitive to ships dumping their oil in the vicinity of its multitudinous glory.
When oil began to wash up on shore north of Townsville, local authorities were stymied by the lack of a report of lost oil. Eventually, through an exhaustive process, the Regina was identified as the culprit. It is facing a potential maximum fine of $17 million, and there are calls for it to be barred from Australian waters full-stop.
This fine, for spilling diesel fuel in the Derwent River in 2015, might not seem enormously meaningful, at only $45000. But, given the spill only involved 400 litres of diesel, it remains one of the most notable fines of recent years. Per unit spilt, it is actually among the most onerous fines handed out in recent years – and indicated to all shipping in Hobart the seriousness with which locals are safeguarding the environment in Tasmania.
Contact EcoSpill for all your oil spill kit needs, and protect yourself, your firm, and the local environment.
While we seem to be moving faster and faster towards electrifying our transportation, the gas station – for the time being, at least – is still a necessary part of our lives. The vast majority of us require our dose of hydrocarbon to keep moving, to drop the kids off or to make it to work. But these stations are imperfect, as they always have been, mostly due to human error.
The nozzles can fit imperfectly, and user inattention can often result in gasoline or diesel being spilt on the ground. As the ground is typically paved, it can then easily run off and enter nearby water sources. Despite such innovations as shut-off valves, drips and spills still occur on a daily basis, and over the course of a busy day, can add up to a damaging amount of spillage.
Fuel spill kits are an essential aspect of gas station operations. They should be within easy reach, and able to be deployed by any member of the staff at a moment’s notice. There is legislation in place that encourages the proper placement of a spill kit at a fuelling station, but ensuring that the kit itself is up to date and usable is nevertheless the responsibility of the station management.
Older fuelling stations, who have been excavated, have been shown to be considerable contributors to groundwater contamination in some cases – the result of years of poor practice. The current owners have then copped a considerable fine. Ensuring your fuel spill kit is ready and waiting to capture any spilt fuel could be vital to avoiding a similar fate.
The sheer variety and volume of chemicals that are used in our industrial processes today is unprecedented. We owe to them a great deal of thanks for our manufacturing potency, but they can be extremely damaging – hence our need for chemical spill kits, in Australia and around the world, to guard against injury and ecological damage.
Care is vital, but remediation methods are also vital. We haven’t always been so careful, and as we have noticed around many of our older industrial areas, the ground and the water can be toxic, a result of years of poor practice. Cleaning these areas is one of the tasks that this generation has been saddled with. Luckily, we are finding some convenient solutions.
The natural world, especially our aquatic plants, have been noted for their filtering skills. In many areas, the creation of marshes, and planting of such plants, has aided us in removing many toxic entities from a water supply, while simultaneously improving a given area’s ability to resist floods.
One of the most notable of these plants is home grown. According to researchers at the University of Technology Sydney, the harsh climate of the Australian continent breeds plant life that is used to sustaining itself in difficult situations. And not only in cases of chemical or oil contamination – the humble sunflower, when grown around the infamous nuclear plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, actually gathered radioactive nucleotides in their yellow folds.
Perhaps, in the future, chemical spill kits can act as the quick remediation, while these helpful plants can serve long-term interests. Time, and research, will tell us more.
The extraction of oil on a grand scale has long been a dangerous affair, but extracting it from underneath the ocean floor has pushed it in to new territory. Oil spilt on land is difficult to clean up, but manages to stay relatively well-contained, at least for long enough for remediation efforts to be brought to bear. In deep water, it is a different story.
Cleanup efforts for oil spilt on water are varied, and include such methods as the deployment of booms, physical ‘suction’ remova courtesy of ships, and shoreline remediation. There are also dispersants, of various names, whose main purpose is to break the oil down in to smaller globules, allowing bacteria and wave action to break the oil down more quickly.
This method was most recently deployed during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in May of 2015. When this well blew out, it sheared the pipeline off on the ocean floor, which began to spill oil at a tremendous rate over the course of the next three months. It still stands as the biggest spill in the history of the petroleum industry, with an estimated volume of 4.9 million barrels of oil being released in to the Gulf of Mexico.
Once the difficulty in plugging the well was revealed, BP invested in Corexit, a dispersant, which was applied to the affected area by modified crop-dusting planes. Much of the oil sank in to the depths as a result, but this treatment has proven controversial. Such detergents are by themselves somewhat toxic, and their tendency to keep the oil submerged has been speculated to have been intended to remove the slick from the public eye, rather than effect a long-term solution.
While the usage of such dispersants continues to be studied, this case underlines – on a grand scale – the importance of ensuring that our extraction and usage of petroleum is kept to a high standard of safety, to ensure that such difficult decisions are not necessary. Despite their efficacy, many environmental and marine spill kits are intended to treat spills of considerably smaller scale, and such accidents as Deepwater Horizon have proven that our industrial-scale remediation capacity is still quite limited.
If you’re in need of marine and environment spill kits or expertise, EcoSpill is Australia’s expert. Contact us today or browse our huge range of products.
Topsoil erosion is an issue we in Australia have faced continuously over the years. Among almost any agrarian society, we rely on rich and viable topsoil to provide a breeding ground for our vital crops, and when it is stripped away, it can leave some serious problems behind.
When soil erosion removes the uppermost layer of topsoil, the layer that we wind up exploiting ends up being less rich or viable than its predecessor. It can be more difficult to till, and can be less suitable overall for planting. And when this soil runs off in to our watersheds, they can create water quality issues – something that many in the Murray-Darling watershed are very familiar with.
This is the reason that silt socks, and other measures, are so important to Australian processes and farming works. It means that they are able to operate landworks and break ground without fear of the next rainfall, and can stop such events from breaking down the soil and polluting our rivers and reservoirs.
Silt socks and coir logs operate to remove the silt from the water before it reaches the river. This is vital, as a heavy silt load can fundamentally alter the form of a watercourse. It discourages weed growth, and tips the balance in favour of species that forage in zero visibility – as is the case with our much-maligned invasive carp species.
Ensure you aren’t causing environmental damage with properly deployed silt socks and coir logs. Contact Eco Spill for more information.
Erosion control is a vital aspect of construction and retension works around Australia. In the absence of a preventative measure, loose and vital topsoil can easily be lost to the erosive power of pounding waves and running water. In the absence of remediation measures, such as silt socks, it can then we washed in to our waterways, sullying water quality and clarity, and potentially netting the careless person responsible a hefty fine.
At Eco Spill, we provide a wide range of products, including silt socks, aimed at the preservation of our natural areas, while encouraging firms to abide by environmental regulations country-wide. One of the best new methods of preventing soil erosion on your worksite is through the use of coir logs. These unique erosion control products can efficiently prevent excessive soil loss, and are easily deployed across a range of landscapes.
Coir logs are constructed of 100% coconut products. Three metres in length, they come in both 200mm and 300mm thicknesses. Their benefits over the typical hay bales are numerous: coconut products won’t break down as quickly, they are more easily managed and deployed, and they don’t host a wide range of weed seeds – so they won’t sully the landscape after breaking down.
They hold their position well, even in areas of high current. But their biggest asset is their ability to use the entirety of the coconut in their construction – no aspect is left unused, making them an eco-friendly method of preserving your topsoil and waterways.
These coir logs operate outdoors, in almost any landscape, and for a huge variety of spaces – roadworks, embankments, in bush regeneration, and for the creation of water channels in agriculture. If you’re in need of an erosion control device, you can do no better.
Contact Eco Spill today, and find out more.