Sunday, 30 January 2011

Spill Sorbents - Understanding the Types

When working with or storing dangerous chemicals and liquids, a major part in effective clean-up and proper precautionary measures is making sure you have the right spill response items on hand. The most common type of spill response items are sorbents. Sorbents are materials or composites used to recover liquids such as leaks, drips or spills. The typical sorbent is designed to adsorb liquids onto its surface.
There are three types of sorbents to choose from. In order to select the right type of sorbent, you first must consider the type of liquid to be absorbed, the potential spill volume and the frequency of use.
Oil Only is white in color, this type of sorbent is designed to selectively absorb petroleum hydrocarbons and other oil-based liquids. This type of sorbent will not absorb any water-based liquids and is frequently used for intense environmental clean up to smaller everyday basic oil spills. Universal is grey in color, this multi-purpose sorbent is designed to absorb all non-aggressive liquids such as oils, coolants, solvents, antifreeze and even water. This type of sorbent is frequently used for industrial spill clean up applications, but also used for general spill control. HazMat is green in color, this type of sorbent is designed to absorb aggressive caustic chemical and acid spills. This type of sorbent is frequently used for commercial, industrial and other workplace spill scenarios.
There are multiple variations of the 3 types of sorbents above to choose from. In order to select the right type of spill sorbent, you must consider the environment that the sorbent is to be used in and how large the spill potential or drip is.
Pads are considered the industrial sorbent towel and are used for all types of spills, drips and leaks; very easy to deploy and provide an economical solution for absorbing various liquids. Rolls are similar to pads, just provide additional coverage. Booms are typically used to absorb, contain and skim oil/hydrocarbons from water; also used when large amounts of liquid are needed to be absorbed. Socks are used to contain and absorb a spill, drip or leak; commonly wrapped around leaky machinery. Pillows are used when larger quantities of liquid are needed to be absorbed; commonly placed under a repetitive drip, in a sump, or on a large volume spill. Granular is a multi-purpose absorbent for spill clean-up, ideal for first response emergency situations, lab packing and stabilization of free liquids.
You never know when a spill will occur. Therefore having the right spill sorbents on-hand for the job will make all the difference. Sorbents allow you to contain and clean up spills quickly and effectively while reducing potentially dangerous accidents in the workplace.
Seton has a great selection of Spill Response products for your workplace. For additional more on these items and additional products from Seton, please visit us at