Whether there’s a leak, spill, or accident, cleaning up hydraulic oil isn’t fun or easy, and sometimes, it’s not a large enough mess to justify calling in a clean-up crew. How can you tidy up without having to break out the big guns? Let’s review five simple steps to help you clean up hydraulic oil.
Wear the Appropriate PPE
As you likely already know, hydraulic oils have a lot of chemical additives included to enhance their performance and keep them stable. Many of these chemical additives can be hazardous when in contact with the skin or inhaled. The OEM should have instructions on the appropriate PPE to wear, or your business should have particular procedures in place. Either way, PPE is non-negotiable, so make sure you have the right equipment and everything fits before attempting cleanup.
Place Oil Booms Around the Spill
If the spill isn’t inside a facility but rather on land, near a drainage system, or a body of water, your next job is to quickly lay down oil booms around the perimeter of the spill. Land booms should be a part of your spill kit. Oil booms are made from various materials depending on where you get them and how you use them. There are emergency oil booms, solid flotation booms, harbor booms, or foam-filled booms. For land spills, foam-filled booms are your go-to. If oil gets into a body of water or water supply, contact your local environmental protection agency as soon as possible.
Lay Down Absorbent Pads
Once you’ve controlled the spill, it’s time for cleanup. Your spill kit should also include hydrocarbon pads designed to soak up large quantities of oil. These pads are water resistant, and many brands are reusable, so they can rapidly absorb a spill, and you can put them in your kit for future use. However, these pads can’t absorb everything, so once they’re fully saturated, place them in a sealed plastic bag and move on to the next step.
Use Absorbent Granules
Now that the excess oil has been cleaned up, it’s time to place absorbent granules over the spill site. Again, depending on how large the spill is, you may want to consider different materials. If it’s a small spill, cat litter or sawdust may be enough, but for larger spills, you’ll need something more heavy-duty. There are many absorbent granules on the market specifically designed to clean up large spills. Ideally, you’ll have clay granules in your spill kit rather than other absorbent granules, as you can never really predict how big a future spill will be.
Sweep and Dispose of the Waste
When the granules have finished absorbing the oil, sweep up the saturated powder and place it in a plastic bag. You may have to place and sweep granules more than once if there’s quite a lot of oil, but you should take it all to a registered hazardous waste disposal site.
While dealing with hydraulic oil cleanup can take quite some time, we hope these five steps make the process a little easier.
If you need a hydraulic oil refill from your last spill, let Santie Oil Co. be your one-stop shop for all your oil needs. We’re one of the top Castrol industrial oil distributors, dedicated to providing you and your business with the highest quality lubricants and lubrication equipment.