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Analysis of Conventional Methods of Cleaning Oil Spills compared with the benefits of the Ross Environmental Products Oil Sponge Absorbent, Eliminator Degreasant and BioCubes using Bioremediation to digest any oil on site.
There are a number of costs built in to the accepted way of handling oil spills:
1) Absorbent material cost
2) Absorbent material storage cost
3) Staff costs associated with clean-up
4) Storage of absorbed oil prior to collection
5) Collection of absorbed oil
6) Disposal of absorbed oil
7) Cost of paperwork associated with spillage
Absorbent Material Cost
  • The cost of current absorbent materials used for spillages is relatively low, be the material sand, clay or granules.
  • Storage may be in a bag in a small storeroom
  • The product may be liable to spill over the floor unless it is placed in a container at extra cost.
Staff Costs
  • Using traditional absorbent materials the staff costs are low and some materials may be quite effective in dealing with the absorption of the spilled oil.
  • Generally normal materials take up some time to absorb an oil spill and may have to be left whilst the absorbent action takes place.
  • Sand may not be so good as it lacks inherent absorbency, and takes a long time to work even within its limited capability.
  • Sweeping up the absorbed oil into a container requires there to be a container handy for use in this way.
  • Another container becomes an extra cost.
  • Contact with local specialist waste removal company takes time
  • Filling out legislative paperwork and storage over a long period.
Storage of Absorbed Oil
  • Storage of the absorbed material, awaiting collection may again not be too expensive as a small storeroom may be used.
  • There may be some danger of the product being spilled
Collection and Disposal of Absorbed Oil
  • The collection agency will probably be responsible for both collection and disposal.
  • Staff time is required to place the collection order and to supervise the collection.
  • Collection notes need to be signed and copies kept over a number of years.
  • There is likely to be a single charge for collection and disposal.
  • The absorbed oil is a hazardous waste and therefore requires incineration for disposal.
Environmental and Other Considerations
In the case of most spillages the amount to collected and disposed of will be quite small. The resultant use of fuel in the vehicle to collect the absorbed oil will therefore be relatively high, at a cost to the environment with emissions.

Oil Sponge addresses many of the cost and environmental problems associated with small spills, as well as large spills.

In essence Oil Sponge is a highly absorbent organic material, uses inherent bacteria to digest any oil, and having digested the oil soaked up from an oil spill, becomes immediately re-usable

Oil Sponge Benefits
  • Oil Sponge may be more expensive weight for weight, than some more traditional materials but it has a higher absorbency than other materials. This may be up to eight times the absorbency of clay-based products.
  • Storage and usage requirements are therefore only one-eighth the requirements for traditional materials.
  • Storage and usage requirements are therefore only one-eighth the requirements for traditional materials.
  • Oil Sponge may be supplied in a Ross Spill Response Station creating a non-spill environment in its own container for Oil Sponge awaiting use.
  • The Spill Response Station also contains the used Oil Sponge whilst the biodegradation of the oil takes place. The action of bacteria takes place in the top of the response container and there is no likelihood of any spillage of the oil sponge with the absorbed oil, taking place. This eliminates the need for another container and its storage requirements.
  • Staff time to deal with a spill is reduced to a minimum. The staff will know what to do when a spillage takes place, from training material provided with each station. The Spill Response station has all the required materials and tools to clear up a spill. The spill response station is quickly wheeled from the store and the Oil Sponge dispensed onto the spill. The high absorbency of Oil Sponge ensures the minimum amount of time is lost in dealing with the oil spillage.
  • Oil Sponge leaves a clean dry surface free of any oily residues.
  • The absorbed oil is brushed up and placed in the top compartment of the Spill Response Station and the whole Station wheeled back to store. The bacteria commence to feed on the oil after some wetting has taken place.
  • There is no paperwork to fill in
  • There is no waste collector to call out
  • No collection charges
  • No disposal charges
  • No filing of paperwork for inspection
  • The used Oil Sponge becomes available for re-use after the bacteria have reduced the oil to Carbon Dioxide and Water.
  • No vehicle emissions are created in collecting the absorbed oil as is the case with traditional material.
  • Oil Sponge will make a clear statement supporting the company's commitment to enhance the environment in its operations.
The use of Oil Sponge has distinct cost and environmental benefits over the use of traditional oil absorbent materials.

Following an oil spill it may be required to remove all traces of the oil on any surfaces either because of safety considerations or because of aesthetic considerations. This is particularly the case where traditional absorbents are used which leave oily traces from spillages.

In general, standard degreasants or cleaning materials will be used in the clean up operation.

In theory, where an oily surface is cleaned down the oily wastewater should be trapped and not allowed to run into surface drains. This may entail the use of absorbent socks or blankets to retain the oily water. However, in practice we probably know that the oily wastewater is allowed to run into the surface drains in many instances.

There may therefore be the cost of these absorbent socks together with their correct disposal costs.

The spillage may have taken place within a bunded area or where an interceptor catches all surface water. The catchpit in the bund or the interceptor will retain all the oil in the water.

At some later date the bund catchpit or the interceptor will have to be pumped out by an authorised waste oil disposal company. The oily waste will have to be treated and ultimately incinerated.

This will represent a high cost in every way. The cost of the collection, the cost of incineration, the environmental cost of incineration due to emissions to atmosphere and the emissions to atmosphere due to the collection vehicle.


The use of Eliminator, a bacterially active degreasant, eliminates all of these costs both in terms of actual cost and cost to the environment.

Eliminator exhibits the following beneficial characteristics:

1) Biologically active to reduce the oil contamination in water to Carbon Dioxide & Water
2) Reduces the need for containment of oily waste clean up water at the site of a spill
3) Eliminates the need for interceptors to be pumped out by waste oil collectors. The oil is consumed by the bacteria, reducing it to Carbon Dioxide and Water.
4) Highly effective degreasant performance on both heavy and slight stains
5) May be used with increased frequency due to its friendly environmental nature
6) Contributes to site cleanliness, and in particular fuel islands, pumps and gantries.
7) Contributes to Health and Safety

Most companies have company vehicles, which may, in the oil industry, become stained with oil stains, which quickly accumulate dirt particles. Eliminator easily removes these stains contributing to the vehicle cleanliness and the company image being enhanced. The wash areas used for vehicle cleaning may also become smeared with residual oil and presents a safety hazard as well as an environmental hazard. Eliminator prevents the build up of oil and consumes any oil washed into the interceptor.

Distribution vehicles should carry oil sponge as a part of a spill response procedure in the event of any spillages occurring on deliveries.


Bio-Cubes are used to consume larger quantities of oil contained in an interceptor or in the catchpit of a bunded tank. The Bio-Cube consists of a concentration of bacteria that are quickly released to reduce the contaminant oil to water and Carbon Dioxide. The use of a Bio-Cube rather than relying on the bacteria contained within the liquid Eliminator depends on the concentration of oil within the container. A heavy concentration would require the use of a Bio-Cube.

The benefits of the Bio-Cube are similar to those found for the liquid Eliminator.

1) Reduces the oil contamination to carbon dioxide and water
2) Reduces the requirements for calling out waste oil collectors to pump out oily waste together with the associated charges.
3) Removes the problems of incinerating the hazardous oily waste and the associated charges.
4) Reduces the vehicle emissions in collecting oily wastes.

The above represents a list of benefits, which can be costed to the advantage of the Ross Environmental Products.

We have focussed on these three products as they may be the mainstay of action to remediate oil spills.

Absorbent blankets and socks are also likely to play an important role in a number of instances.