Oil Spill Pollution Facts and Prevention Tips
As with any pollution issue, in the case of oil spills, prevention is more desirable than any modern efficient cleanup technique. In order to ensure oil spill prevention, a number of legislative measures are in place. Such legislation usually targets the oil storage facilities and operators, enforcing regulatory compliance and the preparation of preventive responsive plans addressing potentially worst-case scenarios in oil spills situations. In the U.S., the main piece of legislation aiming to prevent the occurrence of oil spill pollution is the Oil Spill Pollution Act of 1990.
Along with and in accordance with legislative measures, obvious preventive measures should be adopted in relation to any oil exploitation, storage, transport, and handling activities. Such oil spill pollution preventive measures involve a variety of items and techniques, including:
- The use of spill prevention devices for any storage and drilling equipment, as well as any device used in handling and exploitating oil;
- The use of preventive practices related to waste handling and disposal, as well as waste minimization – for example:
- in the case of off-shore drilling, a variety of oil waste is produced during normal operation, including oil-based drilling fluids, deck runoff water;
- in the case of oil transport on ships, the oil waste includes: the used transportation fuel such as crude oil, heating oil, or fuel oil
- Constant monitoring for detection of incipient spills and leaks– for example involving:
- leaking storage tanks and drums
- flowline and pipeline leaks
- drilling well leaks
- leaks from tanker trucks or ships
- The preparation and continuous update of emergency response plans for any oil storage facility and for oil drilling, operation, and transport
- The adoption of appropriate oil spill pollution preventive measures by unregulated entities such as recreational boating – although most time disregarded, in busy coastal areas (such as California), recreational boating may have an impact in shoreline and coastal water oil pollution. From the air, such impact may sometimes be easily visible as a darker spot on the ocean surface.
- Minimization of land drainage containing spilled oil or runoff water – through remedial treatment before it reaches a water body, the beach or various sensitive ecological receptors;
- Various emergency-response methods aiming to prevent an existent oil spill from reaching the shores or getting into contact with vegetation, wetlands, wildlife, etc.