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Absorbent Oil Spill

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Highly absorbent oil spill control materials, including polypropylene, have become some of the most important textiles in modern industry. Since the Exxon Valdez spill and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, efforts to contain, control, and prevent oil pollution have gotten stronger and stronger. In 2002, the EPA presented official requirements for spill control and countermeasures, including requirements for proactive prevention and expressing the need for facility response plans.

Because of its physical and chemical makeup, polypropylene makes an excellent highly absorbent oil spill containment and cleanup product. It is currently commercially available in many different forms for many different purposes, including socks and booms for quickly containing spills, pads for absorption and quick cleanup, and sheets for a variety of applications. Many polypropylene materials are recyclable as well, making them ideal cost-cutters for both industrial and recreational use.

According to the EPA, mechanical containment of oil spills is the primary method of combating a spill. With a reported 14,000 oil spills a year, this means that polypropylene and other absorbent oil spill control materials are seeing a lot of action. The EPA uses booms, barriers, skimmers, and other sorbent materials to contain oil until it can be disposed of properly.

Gelling Agents and Absorbent Oil Spill Products

The EPA also uses chemical products such as gelling agents. Once a spill is more or less contained, gelling agents are applied to prevent oil from contacting with the shore, and for reducing emulsified oil. Gelling agents are also available for commercial and industrial use, and are sold, like polypropylene products, from safety supply vendors.


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