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Oil spills

A typical scenario…

Imagine a heavy tanker rig is on its way from the refinery terminal to a retail garage (gas station). The driver loses control (a stray animal, tyre failure, loss of consciousness, etc.) approaching a bridge with which the rig collides, rupturing the 1,000lt diesel tank beneath the cab. Diesel is immediately spilled onto the hard concrete structure of the bridge and onto the ‘hard shoulder’ alongside the road. Usually some soaks into the soft ground beyond the shoulder, depending on the incident, how fast the driver was travelling and the severity of the impact.

To help you find an eco-friendly solution to oil contamination problems you might be experiencing, please visit our Quick Product Finder page

Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information and advice at oil@biosystemssa.co.za

The driver does what he can to stem the flow, but a large spill can only be partially ‘contained’. He calls for assistance. Police arrive, assess the situation and contact a spill response contractor who in turn makes good as far as he can in the interests of road safety. Eventually a specialist ‘clean-up’ contractor is appointed to remove surface and sub-surface contamination.

While it may sound like bioremediation is a simple task, it requires an experienced and well-equipped team, lead by a qualified manager, to undertake the work successfully. This is not a job for amateurs; contingent liability is the bogey.

Click on our Oil spill case histories for more.

Typical oil spill problems

  • Ignorance by authorities regarding accepted response and treatment protocols.
  • Political considerations regarding contractual involvement.
  • Bureaucratic delays in awarding response contracts.
  • Logistics on site – for example, getting the correct trained staff and response materials to site on time.
  • Selection and award to a competent contractor (with a good track record).


The essence is to contain, assess and act. But to act is the most important. The quicker you respond, the less the damage and the less contingent liability.

The BIO-SYSTEMS solution

Our microbial blends ensure that the biodegradation of spilled fuels and oils are efficiently controlled:

  1. BIO-SYSTEMS B350
  2. BIO-SYSTEMS L1800
  3. Spill-SorbTM


Spill-Sorb boom used to treat oil spill

Spill-SorbTM booms used during a heavy furnace oil spill in  Epping, Cape Town.
It effectively trapped the oil, preventing it from entering the Jakkalsvlei River.



Spill-Sorb boom after treatment

The textile envelope of the used Spill-SorbTM boom is oil free.

All the hydrocarbon has been encapsulated and will not leach out.


Click on the BIO-SYSTEMS Product table for a complete list of products. Also see our Oil spill case histories.


Go to Effluent streams, Grease traps and interceptors, Odour prevention, Drain dos and don’ts, and Industrial catering effluent for more on the industrial effluent disposal system.



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