3 Ways to Stop an Oil Leak

by Sam on August 14, 2014


Probably better using cheaper soap! (@kim)

Guess you’re in a rush so I’ll cut to the chase.  This applies to domestic and commercial leaks, and most of it is common sense.

The first thing for you to think about, “is it safe”? If there is a fire risk, or for example the vapours are overwhelming, then stay safe, keep clear and call the fire brigade.

If there is no obvious reason to worry then phone an expert (heating engineer, spill responder, your insurer, and/or environment agency) and find out to do to make sure that risks have been dealt with.

Here are a few quick fixes which may help reduce the damage caused-

Solution 1- Turn off the source- Find the tank, find the outlet(s), all should be fitted with a stop tap, twist the tap until it closes and stops the flow.  If possible collect the oil in any available containers e.g. bins, or restrict the movement of the oil as best and safely as possible.

Solution 2- The tank is leaking- Decant(transfer) oil in to a suitable container to below the level of the leak.

Solution 3- Repair the leak temporarily (or permanently if you’re skilled enough, I’d guess skilled people won’t be searching the internet for this answer though??).  SOAP is often the best answer, especially for oil tanks, jam solid soap into the crack, best applied like you would grate cheese, push the soap across the crack forcing soap to block the gap and stop the leak.  Please don’t try liquid soap….

A final tip- cat litter is pretty good at absorbing oil.

You might find the White Paper below helpful.  Wwe’re happy to talk to feel free to contact us on 0800 0209 307 or e-mail us on info@soilutions.co.uk.

Guide to oil spill preparedness and response

This free guide will help you understand the whats, the whys and the hows of oil spill preparedness and response in the simplest terms. Download it now for free!





Landfill Tax a Point of View

by Alasdair on August 11, 2014

third rock out

That wee blue dot is the Earth, it’s all about perspective @ NASA Goddard Photo and Video

It is a universal truth that your personal circumstances will influence how you view the world.  This can be any aspect of life your age, gender, ethinic and religious background, where you live or the job you do.  These factors and many more will inform on the reasons for you having a very different view on events than the person sitting next to you.  It is also inevitable that often the issues which get people most fired up relate to money because rightly or wrongly money is often the prime concern when taking decisions, particularly in business.

Which is why Landfill Tax (LFT) is such a contentious issue within the building and environmental industries.

To provide a bit of background LFT, as the name suggests, is a tax levied by the UK government on material which goes into landfill.  Standard rate of LFT is currently charged at £80 per tonne which goes straight to the taxman and is put on top of whatever haulage and gate fees you’re paying to get the material to the disposal site and leave it there.  As it’s not uncommon for disposal of soil on a single development site to run to thousands of tonnes, this very quickly becomes a major cost for developers.

The problem is that the landfill tax legislation and in fact the whole regulatory framework around waste disposal is ill suited to soil disposal which is the medium that we in the contaminated land industry frequently deal with.  By its nature soil is often heterogenous and no two development sites are the same.  So, unlike many waste generating processes, that the legislation was really written for, which produce the same waste day in and day out the off-site disposal of soil/contaminated soil must be assessed and classified on a site by site basis.  Determining the correct classification for soil is a complex process which I won’t go into here but is covered in the white paper below.  What further confuses matters is that the classification is actually a seperate but connected process to determination of the correct tax.  Mis-classification of soil either accidentally or deliberately can lead to the incorrect underpayment of LFT, which opens you as the client to future liability.

Put simply because the legislation relating to LFT is poorly worded there exists a degree of uncertainty about what tax should be applied.  There are soils which everyone agrees must have tax levied against them and there are soils which clearly meet the criteria for lower rate tax at £2.50 per tonne or disposal via one of the tax exempt routes by treatment and/or re-use.  Then there are those soils which some parties argue should have standard rate tax applied and other people will argue just as strongly that they should not.

Which leads me back to my opening point.  As remediation contractors, first and foremost we will always look to offer our clients the most cost effective solution which meets their requirements.  And as environmental professionals we favour the use of on-site treatment or disposal routes such as treatment centres which avoid the use of landfill capacity and mean that landfill tax isn’t levied at all.  We are therefore in favour of applying the rules for landfill tax accurately  because it protects the clients’ liability and motivates our clients or potential clients to consider routes other than landfill.  Routes which coincedentally fit with the wider stated aim of the government’s national waste policies of reducing the volume of material being sent to landfill.  But if landfill tax is taken out of the equation these options can be more expensive and are often more involved in terms of time on site or they just lack (or are least perceived to lack) the certainty of outcome which off-site disposal offers.

Consequently those who favour the use of landfill, either because of a vested interest or because they are unaware of the alternatives, will often choose to interpret the information in a way which allows them to dispose of soils to landfill and avoid paying standard rate of LFT.  While we may disagree with these actions the reason they take place is because the legislation is so poorly worded.  If there’s a line in the sand then it’s easy to know where you stand and ensure that you are compliant with the legislation.  At the moment that line is pretty fuzzy.

What the industry really needs is clear concise guidance, then it wouldn’t matter what your point of view is because everyone would be looking at the same thing and seeing it the same way.

Guide to soil classification and disposal options

This free guide will help you understand the whats, the whys and the hows of waste soil classification in the simplest terms. Download it now for free!



Waste Acceptance Criteria – Are you classifying your waste correctly…?

August 5, 2014

  As you will all know it is the waste producer’s responsibility for describing their waste in detail and that WAC is not the way to do this…!  What you need to do is provide details on the source and origin of the waste, including chemical test data.  The EA have produced guidance on how [...]

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Groundwater Remediation

July 18, 2014

When dealing with groundwater remediation as with most things in life there are various options. Do you want to treat in situ? Do you want to extract the water and dispose off site? Or extract and treat on site? Choosing the right treatment technique can require a lot of site investigation and data collection to decide [...]

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What is Land Remediation?

July 10, 2014

There are a lot of remedies out there, and more and more people using Remediation as a term specific to their field. Land remediation and its most dedicated employee the Remediation Engineer are both in the business of resolving (or remedying) problems caused by contamination in soil and water. Whether contamination poses a risk depends on the scenario, safe levels [...]

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Environmentally speaking, Ignorance is not bliss

July 7, 2014

As with many things in life we are always searching for the quick fix. Unfortunately when dealing with contamination one doesn’t really exist. Gone are the days of being able to sweep problems under the rug. Many of today’s remediation jobs are a result of the ‘leave it to someone else’ attitude, along with more [...]

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FIFA and the environment

July 2, 2014

With much of the world swept up in football/soccer fever enjoying this huge sporting spectacular. We do forget the environmental impact of holding such an event. FIFA are planning to implement projects to offset the environmental impact of the World Cup such as solar paneling and the replanting of trees, but of the reported billions [...]

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Giant Hogweed or Cow Parsnip?

July 1, 2014

How do I tell the difference between the two? This can ultimately be a bit of a head-scratcher, the less green fingered amongst us may struggle. From afar both plants look incredibly similar……tall, thick stems, large leaves, white flowers…..but the differences are there if you know what to look for. If you do happen upon [...]

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Impermeable Barriers: Contamination Containment

June 25, 2014

Cleaning up contamination is not necessarily the best option to remove the risks posed by it.  Removing a problem seems to be a common sense approach in life, however in the contaminated land industry it can be sensible and better for the environment to manage the problem by isolating the contamination. Impermeable barriers by definition will not allow fluids [...]

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The Dangers of Slurry Mixing

June 19, 2014

Slurry has been in the news a lot recently, under tragic circumstances. Why is it so dangerous? The main culprit is the sudden release of gases during slurry mixing- Hydrogen Sulphide, Ammonia, Carbon Dioxide and Methane can create an explosive and sometimes deadly cocktail. These are the exact same gases you would encounter when working [...]

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