Posted on 15th May, 2012

Effects of oil pollution on waterways

Did you know that as little as one litre of oil, can pollute up to 100 million litres of the water? When oil, chemicals or hydrocarbons pollute the water it is extremely detrimental to the aquatic animals, plants and other wildlife, is some cases the effect can be fatal.

The long term effects of oils spills can cause damage years after any spill ever occurred, with some of the wildlife never returning to it’s original home creating irreversible effects to the eco system. This effect can continue to cause devastating effects to the wildlife
and those that rely on area for agricultural means for decades. The short term effects of oil can smother fish resulting in depleting fish stocks. The plants surrounding local rivers and streams absorb oil through the roots destroying any vegetation and the animals that survive around these rivers could be poisoned by the oil waste.

As a polluter there are severe consequences. There is legislation that states ‘If the spillage goes into the groundwater network, then any costs incurred by the Enviromental Agency, will be recovered from the polluter. POLLUTER PAYS POLICY
Not only do you have to cover the costs of by the environment agency, you have to cover the on going costs to restore the river or lake back to its natural habitat. This isn’t a one off payment, if the fish, plants and wildlife don’t take straight away, then you have to slowly keep applying until it’s restored to natural order.

There are many different pollutants that are harmful to our water ways, oils and chemicals being obvious ones, however kitchen waste can also cause many problems. An largely unknown devastating pollutant is milk, it contains bacteria a living organism, it grows when within the water, deoxygenating the water and killing the fish. This is why is vital to have Pollution Prevention procedures in place. It is better to prevent the spill from happening that to be clearing it up.

‘‘A British food producer was fined £8,000 for discharging dirty effluent into a stream at Boston. It was also ordered to pay full Environment Agency costs of over £4,000. The Environment Agency sample testing indicated that the stream was likely to have been polluted for more than a few days which had a significant effect on invertebrates in the water. Although this incident happened more than a year ago the natural wildlife is still being monitored to ensure there are no further adverse effects”. Could you afford to be in the same situation?

Spills are preventable, if you have suitably trained staff, monitoring equipment for all your interceptors and drain closures devices to make sure that any pollutants are never allowed to reach the river. 

References:

http://www.oiltanktub.com/expert/pdf/Ontario_Mutual_Insurance_Association.pdf
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1991/57/section/161D
http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/news/138474.aspx?page=2&month=3&year=2012
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2009/3104/contents/made

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