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Spills happen on heavy construction sites.

Photo Credit - www.Inhabitat.com

Hydraulic lines blow.

Diesel slobbers out when refueling.

When the projects are on land, it's pretty easy to control the spread and cleanup the spill.

When a spill happens when working in and around water, it's a whole nother ballgame (is 'nother' really a word?)...guess it is here.

So how do you prepare for a potential spill when working in streams?

  1. Train workers to be super careful when handling diesel, gasoline, hydraulics, motor oil, etc. This should be instilled on land, but especially around water.
  2. Examine all equipment for frayed hoses, leaky fittings, etc. Note "slobber marks" that indicate where problems have happened in the past.
  3. Daily tailgate talks reminding the team of the care needed to be taken and the consequences of a spill (environmental damages, wildlife harm, drinking water problems, fines, bad publicity...the list goes on)
  4. Have the proper spill materials staged in critical areas when it can be reached quickly and easily.
  5. Employ the proper types of spill materials engineered to filter oil and fuel from water.  It's wise to look for innovative materials that can be vacuum packed to take up 80% less space than traditional spill products.

Thanks to recent advances, construction companies now have a new tool to help prevent the spread of inadvertent oil and fuel spills on streams.

The WaterGate Instant UnderFlow Dam creates a pool of slow-moving water downstream from the worksite. 

In case of an oil or fuel spill, the oil floats to the top of the water column for cleanup and fresh water passes through underflow valves engineered at the bottom of the dam (see photo below).

image1Instant underflow dam prevents inadvertent oil and fuel spills from spreading

The Instant UnderFlow dam can be installed by two workers in about 10 minutes.  Water flow beneath the dam is regulated by adjusting the valves.  


Downstream view shows pool of slow water that allows easier cleanup of floating oils and fuels

When construction equipment is not working, the dam can be removed in about ten minutes and reinstalled in the same time when work resumes.

By preparing for accidental spills ahead of time, companies can not only limit environmental damages but also save time and money.

Topics: Spill Response, Spill Cleanup, Innovation, "oil spills on water", "Instant Underflow dam", "WaterGate"

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