What Is An Oil Boom And How Do They Work?

By on November 21, 2012

Oil booms are sausage shaped tubes that can generally be seen floating in the sea around the site of an oil spill. There are two types of oil booms, containment booms and absorbent booms, and each has a different purpose. Containment booms form a barrier around the spill in order to contain the oil in one area; these booms do not absorb any of the oil, they are usually either bright orange or yellow and have plastic that hangs from the bottom of the boom in order to prevent the oil from being pushed underneath the barrier. Absorbent booms are made so that they soak up the spilled oil but they do not soak up water. Absorbent booms are placed within the containment booms, they are white in colour and as they begin soaking up the oil the colour changes and they become darker. Once the booms are fully saturated with oil they are removed from the area and replaced with a clean one; this process is continued until oil of the oil has been soaked up.

Oil booms are extremely efficient and they work so well because oil floats; oil booms float and help to keep the oil within one area. This prevents the oil from floating further out to sea or up to the shore where it would contaminate beaches and shorelines. The weight that is attached to the oil booms help to prevent this and by containing the oil spill it means that less damage is caused to shorelines and wildlife.

When an oil leak occurs it can be devastating to the environment so when they happen it is important to act on them straight away. Oil booms are a great way to do this as they are inexpensive yet they do the job properly. Oil booms are not only placed around main oil leaks but they are also placed within the sea in order to catch any free floating oil. They are used to direct the oil near to the shore and once it gets there it is vacuumed out of the water before hitting the land.

Oil booms however, are not a fool proof method of safely collecting and moving the oil. If there is heavy rain or a particularly rough sea then the oil can escape over the top of the boom in which case it is once again free in the sea so the process must begin again.

For any kind of chemical or oil spill the author of this article, Michael Jones, would recommend that you take a look at the selection of spill pallets available from http://www.yellowshield.co.uk/site-maintenance/wheelie-bins.html.

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