5 Solutions to Oil Spills


Oil spills have a devastating effect on local wildlife, fishing operations, and household income. These effects can linger for more than a generation, as we’ve discovered from incidents like the Exxon Valdez spill. This is why finding effective solutions to oil spills must be one of the industry’s top priorities. Here are the solutions that are currently in place.

1. Oil Blankets

This solution protects beaches and the shoreline from an oil spill. Once installed, it can absorb the oil in the water before it reaches land. Then it can be removed and properly disposed of to limit damage.

2. Ultra-Microbes

There are certain microbes that actually eat the oil that is spilled. By using floating booms to contain an oil spill, these microbes can be introduced to the spill area and they will consume it over a period of days, completely eliminating it from the environment.

3. Spill Fences

A spill fence captures oil on the water’s surface and can capture sub-surface oil as well. It can direct water that has been contaminated into a specific area or separate an oil slick from the rest of the water. Then microbes can be introduced into the contaminated area if desired.

4. Oil Filter Booms

These booms float on top of the water. They can be introduced directly to a contaminated environment to begin absorbing the oil, but returning the cleaned water back to the sea, ocean, or other body of water. This allows for containment at the same time as the water is being cleaned.

5. Oil Skirts

This option is a combination of the boom and the blanket. It helps to capture oil that is on the surface or close to it. Different lengths of skirting can help to collect oil from varying depths. They can also be linked together to make any length of barrier that is required to stop the oil from contaminating the environment any further.

With a fast response and with solutions to oil spills like these, it has become possible to limit the damage. Tankers that carry oil have new requirements as well to prevent oil spills, but that hasn’t stopped every tragedy. This is why we must continue to innovate in this area so that we can avoid problems like the Exxon Valdez spill and others from now on.