How To Clean Up A Diesel Spill

Friday 21st July 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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Fuel spill on asphalt road CONTENTS

Diesel is a very hazardous substance that can threaten people’s health, stain surfaces, cause fires, and pollute the environment when spilled. You must bring in specialist cleaners as soon as possible to contain and clean up a spill or it could have devastating consequences.

Here at ICE Cleaning, we offer rapid response oil spill cleaning services. Our technicians are fully permitted to handle and dispose of a number of types of oil, including diesel, gasoline, and hydraulic oil. If its an emergency, they can be on site in several hours.

Keep reading to find out what to do when diesel spills and how to prevent them in the future.

What causes diesel spills?

As diesel is a very popular type of fuel, spills can happen in a range of environments, from someone’s garage or driveway to the workplace.

One of the most common causes of diesel spills is HGV accidents on the road. Overfilling tanks –known as “brimming” or “necking” which is a standard company policy – can lead to spills.

Other vehicles are vulnerable to diesel spills, too, particularly if they have a missing or defective fuel cap, or the driver has overfilled or not fully secured the fuel cap.

Small diesel spills are also common in garages or on driveways whether some was spilt during fuelling or there is a leak in a vehicle’s fuel lines. Fuel spills can occur in workplaces that store and use diesel, as well.

The effects of a diesel spill

When diesel spills on the road, it can lead to major disruption. It can make the road very slippery, potentially leading to accidents which may result in road closure and delays, and could damage the road surface.

Diesel, like most automotive oils, dissolves the binder of tarmac and asphalt and causes them to degrade. It can also make concrete deteriorate. Repairing or replacing the flooring of your property could be expensive and take a long time.

Exposure to a diesel spill can put people’s health at risk, too. Not only can stepping in it cause people to slip, fall, and get injured, when diesel fumes are inhaled, they could lead to dizziness, headaches, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat.

Long term exposure can trigger more serious health problems include kidney damage and lung cancer, and increases your risk of a heart attack. Fuel is flammable, as well, and a spark or flame could cause it to ignite.

Should the diesel spill outdoors or enter the drainage or sewer system, it might contaminate soil and water and have devastating impacts for the local environment, such as killing aquatic wildlife.

When diesel spills, you must act quickly and appropriately to minimise the effects of a spill and make the affected area safe again. You can find out more about the importance of preventing diesel spills here.

How to clean a diesel spill

First, alert the staff working in the area that a spill has occurred. If the spill is large or it puts people in danger, you may need to evacuate the area. You might also need to contact the emergency services if there is a threat to people, property, or the local environment.

Next, stop the diesel from spilling, whether that is putting the container that was knocked over upright or sealing the leak. The spill will then need to be contained with spill control equipment, like drain plugs to stop it going down drains or absorbent pads to soak up the fuel.

Only trained professionals wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) should attempt to contain the spill.

Ensure there are no ignition or heat sources in the area or it could cause the diesel to ignite. If there are, evacuate and contact the emergency services so they can advise on what to do next.

Should your staff be trained to use a diesel spill kit, let them clean it up. Or bring in professional cleaners to clean up the oil, and correctly dispose of the diesel and contaminated waste. They will have the specialist knowledge to clean spills on any surface, like cleaning up diesel spills on tarmac.

Don’t attempt to clean up the spill yourself without the correct PPE, equipment, and training. You could make the situation worse, such as washing it down a drain or letting it spread outdoors, or might not clean it all up. You can find out more about what to do when oil spills in this blog.

How to prevent fuel spills

  • Don’t fill your vehicle’s fuel tank up to the top
  • Fit anti-siphon devices to your HGV to prevent overfilling and spillages in the event of an accident
  • Regularly inspect and maintain vehicles to catch early signs of leakages and spills, and identify any problems that could cause spills
  • Inspect storage containers frequently and conduct integrity testing

Get in touch

Our technicians have a 100% success rate cleaning up diesel spills for domestic, commercial, and industrial clients. They can use their industry-leading equipment and specialist expertise to remove all traces of the diesel and dispose of it correctly.

Contact our team today on 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk to book a free site survey and get a no-obligation quote for our oil spill cleaning services.

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