| Donny Beaver |

Oil-Only Sorbent Booms Lab Test

We tested oil-only sorbent booms to find out why they aren’t effective for long-term deployment in industrial retention ponds.

Oil-only floating sorbent booms have been used for decades to contain oil and fuel spills. For the most part, they do an OK job. Unfortunately, they are not a very effective tool for long-term deployment in industrial retention ponds for two reasons:

  • They don’t wick the oil sheen into the inner fibers
  • They get dirty “looking” on the outside and get tossed too soon

Testing Our Absorbent Boom Theory in the Lab

We grabbed the dirtier-looking boom (see photos below) from the garbage to prove our theory. It had been discarded after a couple of months of use because the portion in contact with the water appeared saturated with the oil sheen.

We can understand the contractor’s concern to remove a boom that appeared saturated. However, instead of tossing it, we think they should have turned it around 180 degrees and put the clean boom in touch with the dirty water. The series of photos in the slideshow below reveals our forensic findings.

  • Discarded Sorbent Boom

    The contractor discarded this boom because it looked dirty. The 18″ section on the top left of the photo and the whole circumference of the boom appears saturated with oil.

  • Used Absorbent Boom
    We cut out the dirtiest-looking section of the boom for evaluation. To the untrained eye, it looked “spent.”
  • Dirty Absorbent Boom

    As we peeled away the outer layer, we noticed it was completely filthy. But we also observed that the oil-sorbent fibers just beneath the surface were white as snow.

  • Cross Section of Used Absorbent Boom
    Further dissection revealed the boom did not wick the oil sheen into its fibers.
  • Inside a Used Sorbent Boom
    This cross-section shot shows that 99% of the oil boom was wasted.
  • Discarded Sorbent Boom
  • Used Absorbent Boom
  • Dirty Absorbent Boom
  • Cross Section of Used Absorbent Boom
  • Inside a Used Sorbent Boom

The Results. 99% of the Absorbent Boom was Wasted.

Our tests confirmed our suspicions. Traditional oil-only sorbent booms may help contain some of the oil sheen in industrial ponds. However, they do not absorb oil into the inner fibers. As a result, 99% of the oil boom is wasted. In addition, expensive labor and disposal costs are spent changing out and disposing of the poorly functioning booms.

SpillBoa® vs Traditional Booms

Engineered for rapid containment and clean-up of oil spills on land or water, SpillBoa® is super absorbent, unlike standard overstuffed booms. See the comparison photos below.

SpillBoa vs Traditional Boom Lab Test 1

Cross sections placed in spilled oil.

15 minutes - SpillBoa® more than 50% saturated

15 minutes – SpillBoa® more than 50% saturated

SpillBoa® is 80% saturated in 30 minutes

With superior engineering, SpillBoa® is 80% saturated in 30 minutes

45 minutes - SpillBoa® 100% saturated

45 minutes – SpillBoa® 100% saturated and the traditional boom is less than 50% saturated

Contact HalenHardy Delivery and Service

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Contact us if you have any questions or need help finding the right spill control products. Our Customer Success Team is available by chat or by phone at 814-822-2004.

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