Over the past fifty years, we have all, sadly, become accustomed to seeing the devastating footage of oil spills. Oil and water do not mix, and it will spread out as much as possible when it encounters a large water surface. Did you know that a patch of oil in water can be as thin as a single molecule thick?
When an oil spill occurs, there is only one way to minimize the dreadful environmental impact that such a problem causes: to act quickly and effectively. One of the best ways of working rapidly and effectively is to mitigate oil spills with inflatable cofferdams.
When You Mitigate Oil Spills with Inflatable Cofferdams, You Can Minimize the Damage Caused
The main issue with an oil spill is spreading the oil. Most liquids and even some solids will happily dissolve in water, but oil-based liquids and solids do not. If you want to get into the science, this happens because water molecules are ‘polar,’ meaning they are positively charged at one end and negatively charged at the other. Water molecules effectively link to create puddles, pools, seas, and even oceans.
Oil molecules are non-polar, and even though oil molecules will attempt to connect to water molecules, water molecules will always bind to other water molecules instead; therefore, the oil and water will not mix. Because oil is less dense than water, the oil molecules are pushed upwards by water, creating the molecule-thin layer seen in oil slicks.
You can imagine just how many oil molecules there are in even a tiny amount. When a batch of oil encounters water, within a few seconds, it will have spread out to create a ‘sheet’ of oil upon the water’s surface that is much wider – area-wise – than you’d expect.
You Can Contain Oil Spills Quickly by Using Inflatable Cofferdams
Water is not the only thing that oil cannot penetrate. Inflatable cofferdams are also impenetrable by oil. You can mitigate the damage from an oil spill by deploying inflatable cofferdams as quickly as possible.
When an oil spill occurs, the oil is seldom ‘introduced’ to the water in one batch. Most oil spills come from leaks. This means that oil is added to water slowly so that the oil will spread out gradually. You may think that the best policy when it comes to oil leaks is to repair the leak, but not only may this not be easy (especially if the leak is underwater, as oil leaks that lead to oil slicks often are), but it does not deal with the spreading of the oil that is creating the slick.
One of the main benefits of inflatable cofferdams is that they can be deployed quickly. Many people responsible for preventing oil slicks from spreading have used inflatable cofferdams to do just that. Because of the ease of deploying cofferdams, oil spills have been contained, making the clean-up job more manageable. Because oil spreads so thinly and because it spreads on the surface of the water, inflatable cofferdams can be positioned easily to create an effective containment area that water cannot penetrate.
If you are looking for inflatable cofferdams to use for any reason, please talk to us at Dam-It-Dams. We have over 20 years of experience in the water management industry and over half a century of experience in the construction trade. You can contact us anytime at 810-695-1695 or by using our online contact form. We’ll be happy to use our expertise to help you with any oil contamination issues you may have encountered.