Friday, 28 January 2011

Which Oil Spill Containment Boom For Which Situation - A Brief Guide to Non-Absorbent Oil Booms

You know you need to be prepared for oil spill emergencies. And you want to do the right thing, which is to make sure you have oil spill containment booms on hand. The problem? It can be hard to decide which ones you may need for your specific situation. Read on for a handy guide to the various types of settings for potential spills and the types of oil booms that are best suited for those situations.
First, there are two major types of oil spill containment booms, absorbent and non-absorbent. Here, we will focus on the non-absorbent type.
Before you buy an oil spill containment boom, you need to figure out for which type of situation you're most likely to need it. Since they're all used to contain oil and other spills in various bodies of water, the most important consideration when choosing an oil boom is in what type of body of water it is likely to be needed.
That's because you will need to use very different types of oil booms depending on whether you try to contain a spill in calm and protected waters, or in less calm waters along the shoreline, or in fast-moving waters. Here are the four main types of potential settings and the types of non-absorbent oil booms that are best suited for them.
a) Calm water, where you need to contain oil and possibly debris as well. This type of setting is mostly found on inland waterways, lakes, marinas, and harbors. The best type of oil boom for this setting is lightweight and compact. Ideally, it can also be folded into sections for easy transportation. This way, the boom can be stored in boats, trucks, and other vehicles so it can be deployed quickly -- and by hand -- if and when it is needed. The booms should have handles as well as anchor points.
b) Calm and shallow areas, such as in roadside ditches, canals, and small streams. Here, you will need a very lightweight oil boom that can be easily transported and used in smaller bodies of water as well.
c) Shorelines and coastal areas. These areas are more expansive and the water is less calm. There may also be boat traffic. For a situation like that, you will need heavy duty oil booms that have a much sturdier -- and reliable -- construction. However, you also need to be able to move them for any boat traffic. Look for a high buoyancy reserve, for example the type achieved by stable log floats. Of course, the booms should also have handles as well as anchor points. The connectors should be heavy duty as well as marine-grade.
d) Areas with faster currents, including rivers, estuaries, harbors, and ports. Also, situations where there might be a need for long-term deployment. These types of situations call for booms with extremely sturdy construction. Look for steel cables that have sufficient strength for towing, and that will not break even in fast-moving water. Ideally, bottom tension is provided by galvanized chains, and the top tension by galvanized cables.
As you can see, these are very different types of booms. So before you buy an oil spill containment boom, consider the setting where you might need it, and then choose the boom that best matches your needs.
Travis Zdrazil is a successful businessman who has been part of a successful partnership since 1985. With over 10 years of business experience Travis uses his business expertise to select and supply businesses with products to aid in meeting EPA and OSHA requirements. Sign up for his free newsletter at or feel free to contact him if you have any questions on the oil spill containment boom products through the site.
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