OIL POLLUTION IN WATER
KILL ORGANISMS, TAINTS FISH AND DIRTIES GEAR!
Oils and Fuels - Did you know?
A SINGLE LITRE OF OIL/FUEL CAN CONTAMINATE OVER ONE MILLION LITRES OF WATER.
The Environment Agency's legal limit for Hydrocarbon in water discharges is roughly one drop of oil in 2 litres of water (15mg/L) or 15 parts per million.
Typical bilge water oils content ranges from 200 - 2000 parts per million which is 13 - 133 timeS the legal limit although this is by no means consistent. (Source 'Removal of oils and organic matter' Alpher. H 2003 thegreenblue.org)
Oil is toxic to fish and water species. Prolonged exposure affects reproduction, growth and feeding of aquatic life, even at low concentrations.
Oils and Fuels are the most frequently reported pollutant of inland waters and Oceans in England and Wales. The majority comes from everyday sources like refuelling, engine emissions and Oil Leaks.
The best technique for dealing with oil in the bilge is to continually check and fix all leaks.
Good maintenance of fuel lines, connections and seals helps avoid leaks.
- The most effective way to clean oily bilge water is to use a Hydrophobic (absorb Oils and fuels only and repel water) oils absorbent sock. Socks will roll just within the top surface of the bilge water with the motion of the boat utilising the full absorbtion surface. Bonded Oil Only pads cover a larger surface area floating on top of the water.
- Check bilge water for contaminants before routine pumping. Do not discharge if the is a sheen to it.
- Use a funnel when pouring fuel or oil.
- When fuelling, avoid topping off or overfilling to reduce the risk of fuel overflowing from vents.
- Place an absorbent pad or container under the fuel vent to collect accidental fuel overflow or splash back.
- Allow room for expansion in the tank.
- When dealing with spills, stop the source of the spill first. Then focus on containing it.
- Where oil has been spilt into open waters, use booms and hydrophobic absorbent materials that float on the water and only absorb oils to contain the spill such as Oil Only pads and cushions. These need to be secured to prevent them breaking free from the site of the spill and releasing the polluting material.
- NEVER use detergents to deal with spills - it may disperse the Fuel or Oil and save you embarrasment, but they can be more toxic to aquatic life than the oil itself.
- Transfer used oil or waste fuel in proper containers.
- Dispose of all Oily or Fuel soaked materials in disposable bags with ties and dispose of in oil waste facilities in the hazardous waste containers when in Port/Harbour.
Avoid using oil and fuel on the pontoons, other than those dedicated to refuelling.
Off the boat, the Government recommends a distance of at least 10m from the water.
A drip tray or oil absorbent pad under the engine is a requirement on many waterways.
IF IT STARTS GETTING OILY, FIND AND MEND THE LEAK!