How to Handle an Oil Spill in your Marina

How To Handle An Oil Spill In Your Marina

Oil Spill Aftermath

There are many precautions you can, and should, take to keep your marina or garage safe from oil spills. Preventative measures like outfitting your boats with drip pans or encouraging spot checks can stop problems before they occur. However, accidents happen.

Even boat marinas with the best intentions will experience oil spills at some point. Actively working to limit possible sources of spills can help mitigate potential damage. This is important because oil spills, regardless of size, can have major effects on the water quality and ecosystem. Of course, humans and wildlife will be harmed by the oozing spread of oil in a body of water. An aspect of oil spills that is often overlooked is the devastation it can wreak on plant life in the area. Oil spills stunt the growth of aquatic plants, but even worse, they increase the algae content and further muddy the waters. Increased algae makes life difficult for boats, animals, and people alike. 

First Steps When Dealing with an Oil Spill

So, despite your best efforts, the inevitable has happened. There is an oil spill in your marina. It
is important not to break down or beat yourself up. Staying calm and being aware of your
marina can help prevent a small problem from becoming a big one.

Keep your own safety in mind when responding to an oil spill. Only act if you are not putting yourself or others at risk. Make sure the oil does not come in contact with your skin; put on any rubber gloves, waders and other protective equipment you have at your disposal.

First, stop the flow of oil. If caught early, oil spills can be quite manageable for a professional to clean in a short amount of time. Every second that the spill continues, however, exponentially adds on to the cost and difficulty of properly cleaning an oil spill.

If the oil spill is on a hard surface, place sandbags or moveable earth (like dirt) in between the oil and the water. It is significantly easier to control the spread of an oil spill on dry land.

Do not add any soaps or detergents that are not specifically made for cleaning up oil spills. This could make the problem worse, by introducing even more chemicals into the environment. Also, if you are not a professional, there is no guarantee that certain soap chemicals will not interact adversely with the oil.

Call in an Expert

After stemming the initial spread of the oil spill—if possible—it’s time to call in the experts. There are many companies, like OPG+, whose sole job it is to safely handle oil spills. No matter where you are in the country, there are local professionals who can be on the scene quickly.

OPG+, specifically, has a proprietary formula that speeds up the entire cleaning process. The best part: it’s biodegradable. That means our solution is completely safe for humans, plants, and animals.

Nature is a wonderful thing. Nature has the ability to break down toxins (i.e. hazardous materials in the marina) and uses bacteria to eat away at the hazardous materials over time. This natural process is effective, but will take decades to finish when left to its own devices. OPG+ uses plant enzymes to enhance the bacteria, making it thrive, and ultimately eating pollutants faster. Our formula breaks down petroleum and grease on a molecular level. As a result, nothing is left behind in the marina except CO2 and water. Yes, you read that right. OPG+ turns the oil into water. The toxicity of the spill will be rapidly diminished, the odor will be gone and the spill will no longer adhere to anything, leaving the site completely safe.

Restoration of the Area

Following the oil spill, it is crucial to be honest in your evaluation of the damage. Will it be expensive to do the job right? Probably. But it is a guarantee that repairing damage from an oil spill will be even more costly down the line if it is not handled correctly from the start.

It is possible to speed up the recovery process of your marina and the area. Marinas often support wildlife, from small birds to traveling schools of fish and even manatees that are attracted to the warmer water near the boats. Reintroducing species that left following the oil spill can help return the ecosystem to its natural state.

Another oft-overlooked factor of oil spills is its effect on erosion. Whether attacking natural or man-made supports, oil can eat away and speed up the process of erosion. Following a spill, make sure everything from your docks to your dunes is shored up properly.

OPG+ is Here for You

OPG+ can help provide a basis for safe, sustainable, and eco-friendly hazardous material spill solutions for your marina. Contact us to request a demo or schedule an emergency cleanup today!