Oil and gas (O&G) and other chemical spills get attention like no other news. Just take the recent chemical spill in the Elk River in Charleston, West Virginia, which cut off water to more than 300,000 people. Three years ago, the United States Chemical Safety Board asked the state to put together a new program to prevent accidents and releases in the Kanawha Valley, known as Chemical Valley. That program has yet to materialize, despite a pattern of chemical spills in the region.
But those in O&G know that the best remedy for a serious oil spill is to prevent it in the first place. Oil field equipment requires adequate maintenance throughout its life to ensure proper operation, prevent downtime and excessive repair costs, and occasionally for aesthetic purposes. The types of equipment typical of oil fields: work-over rigs, wireline units, coiled tubing units, pumping units, and hand tools, require periodic cleaning, but traditional methods have often relied upon caustic cleaners and solvents and/or steam, all of which have distinct drawbacks, in terms of continual exposure for personnel, labor costs, efficacy, and, in the event of an oil (or chemical) spill, the potentially serious health and safety repercussions for the surrounding community.
Alternatives exist that are plant-based and domestically produced, which provide a highly attractive and safe biodegradable option for industrial oil clean up. Several environmentally-friendly degreasers are on the market, from heavy duty degreasers, to oil and fuel surface washing agents, but generally the products work in the same fashion. The age and condition of the equipment to be cleaned determines the dilution factor. Typically the process is to dilute the product and apply a ready-to-use solution via a pressure washer. Two key things are achieved in the process, first, the oil or chemical is extracted or lifted and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are encapsulated and suppressed, which greatly improves oil personnel safety.
Blain Johnson is a Environmental Scientist researching for green solutions for the oil & gas industry. To learn more about the author, connect with him on Goolge+. Sources collected for this article can be found at http://www.ebgreensolutions.com/products/heavy-duty-degreaser.