cleaning up spills in streams
| Donny Beaver

What’s the best way to clean up oil spills in rivers and streams?

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.

cleaning spills in rivers

How are spills in streams or rivers different from those in the ocean?

  1. Currents in rivers are usually downstream (one direction) and more predictable than ocean turbulence.

  2. Vegetation often grows right on the river’s edge, making the cleanup of shorelines more difficult.

  3. 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.

  4. Oil spills on ocean waters typically involve crude oils, whereas spills on rivers and streams most commonly involve refined oils.

  5. Oil spills occur more frequently in inland waters than in ocean waters.

Being prepared to clean up oil spills in streams and rivers means having the right tools – and the ability to deploy them quickly.

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.

Instant Underflow Dams provide responders with faster, more effective oil spill containment technology.

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 Testing and Approval

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

  • Temporary Diversion damming for river drought remediation and fish passage
  • Use with sorbents for easy hydrocarbon containment

Save time. Save money. Save the environment.

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:

  • Firefighters

  • Petroleum companies

  • Contractors

  • Municipal workers

  • Wildlife ecologists
  • Mining exploration companies

Here’s what environmental professionals have to say about Instant Underflow Dam

Husky Pan Testimonial
Using the Instant Underflow Dam in this specific instance allowed EMS to stop the flow of impacted water from traveling downstream (which would have impacted a local drinking water lake) in a matter of minutes. Having the Watergate Dam in our arsenal allowed us to show up on site, assess the impact and stop the flow of oil downstream within 10 minutes. It remained in place for 4 days and worked flawlessly the entire time with minimal maintenance.
– Environmental Compliance Coordinator, Electric Power Utility
We bought our HalenHardy Instant Underflow Dam two weeks ago as a new tool to help us contain, control and cleanup oil based spills on streams and ditches. When our client called with a transformer spill on a local stream, we got to press the Instant UnderFlow Dam into action immediately. It saved us (and our client) tens of thousands of dollars. It’s a life saver.
– COO of Spill Cleanup Contractor

Related Articles

Contact HalenHardy Delivery and Service

Need some help choosing the right spill control products?

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.

HalenHardy® © 2022, All Rights Reserved | Privacy | Terms of Use