Absorption of polluting materials

Control Measure Knowledge

It may be appropriate to contain minor spillages by using absorbent materials, such as pads, sheets and booms. Soil, sand and cement all have absorbent qualities and can be used to create improvised containment barriers or bunds.

Polluting materials retain their hazardous properties when absorbed and this should be considered when handling any absorbed material. Absorbent materials should not be used for larger spillages, such as a road tanker incident, because of the amount of waste that will be created and the cost of its disposal.

Environmental agencies supply grab packs that contain resources such as oil absorbent pads and booms. These should be made available on fire and rescue service pumping appliances, high volume pumps (HVPs) and environmental protection units (EPUs).

The absorbent material waste should either be handed over to the responsible person, or arrangements made for its safe disposal.

The environmental agency officer should inform the responsible person about their responsibility to dispose of polluting materials, such as contaminated booms or pads, and cost recovery under the ‘polluter pays’ principle. If the environmental agency is not present, personnel may need to provide the responsible person with this information.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions