Every time oil and chemicals are released into our waterways, there is a tremendous cause for concern.
Spills kill marine, plants, and wildlife; destroy habitats, and contaminate the soil. It can take years, and even decades, to clean up and rehabilitate spill-contaminated waters, shorelines, and wetlands.
We often hear more about catastrophic oil spills that occur in the ocean. But unfortunately, we hear much less about inland oil spills affecting our streams, creeks, and rivers.
Oil spills typically begin on land. They’re messy and difficult to contain. All too often, some of the oil from these spills gets into a storm drain which leads to a creek or stream. That hard-to-contain spill now picks up speed and spreads even more rapidly than it did on land.
Currents in rivers are usually downstream (one direction) and more predictable than ocean turbulence.
Vegetation often grows right on the river’s edge, making the cleanup of shorelines more difficult.
Oil mixes with sediment carried by a river, dragging the oil to the bottom of the riverbed and making it more challenging to clean up.
Oil spills on ocean waters typically involve crude oils, whereas spills on rivers and streams most commonly involve refined oils.
Oil spills occur more frequently in inland waters than in ocean waters.
When you think of an oil spill on water, you probably think of a floating sheen or thin layer of oil. Cleanup efforts often include using sorbent booms to contain the oil. Depending upon the current, sorbent booms may not be very effective in capturing the sheen and preventing it from spreading. They’re also bulky and tangle easily.
This can be frustrating for responders and detrimental to the waterbody. To combat these inefficiencies, response crews build underflow dams with sandbags and piping to better capture the floating oil while allowing the clean water under the surface of the stream to continue flowing.
But sandbagging takes time and a lot of manpower – both of which are luxuries that many response teams don’t have. It can also be difficult to drag heavy materials to remote locations to deploy sandbags. Instant Underflow Dams are compact, ready to deploy, weigh less than 50 pounds and can be carried directly to the streambank by one person.
The Instant Underflow Dam features Water-Gate Technology that was originally developed by an industrial designer who observed the need for something faster than sandbagging during a major flood event on the Rouge River in Manitoba.
Time is just as critical when it comes to spill response, and Instant Underflow Dams are just as effective in quickly and effectively containing hydrocarbon spills in rivers and streams as they are for managing floodwaters.
The Instant Underflow Dam is a portable dam made of flexible PVC vinyl. It’s used to quickly create an underflow dam in small streams.
Once the Dam is in place, release valves near the base of the Dam can be opened to allow the clean water near the bottom of the stream to flow while capturing floating contaminants on the surface of the water. The Dam also creates a consolidation point to facilitate skimming and vacuuming of oil or other floating contaminants.
With the Instant Underflow Dams, response teams with as little as two people can deploy and effectively contain an oil spill on water in less than ten minutes, freeing up other responders to focus on spill clean-up and other tasks.
Instant Underflow Dams are certified and tested by US Army Corps of Engineers and FM Approved. They are also versatile and have been effectively deployed for:
Oil and fuel spill responses
Dam implementation and prevention of overflows
Flood protection – replacing sandbags and enabling site access after flooding
Supplying water for agriculture needs and in rural or wildland firefighting
Cofferdams and dewatering work in aquatic environments
No one can eliminate the possibility of spills happening. But, we can be prepared with quick and effective solutions to mitigate them and prevent further damage. Now, instead of taking several hours and costing thousands of dollars, response takes less than ten minutes.
Instant Underflow Dams are indispensable tools to help responders in these and other industries:
If you have any questions on finding the right spill control products that meet your needs, just ask. Give us your crappiest job and we will help you find a better way. Our Customer Success Team is available by chat or by phone at 814-822-2004.