What is the cause of most oil spills

what is the cause of most oil spills

How Do Oil Spills Affect The Environment?

Oil spills may originate in natural or anthropogenic causes. Natural causes - such as oil that seeps from the bottom of oceans which enters the marine environment. Crude oil is formed during long periods of time through natural processes involving organic matter from dead organisms. Feb 07, †Ј Accidents frequently cause spills as oil is released from a container or pipeline due to damage or mechanical failure. There are also oil spills that occur as a result of dumping, often on land, which then runs off into water; natural seepage of oil can also be damaging to the environment.

The term "oil spill" typically evokes images of crude oil pouring out of an oil tanker in the sea due to an accident, but it can be used to refer to any type of oil release. Ocean oil spills are among the most commonly depicted and catastrophic forms, though they can also occur on te. Accidents frequently cause spills as oil is released from a container or pipeline thee to damage or mechanical epills.

There are also oil spills that occur as a result of dumping, often on land, which then runs off into water; natural seepage of oil can also be damaging boost mobile uses what network the environment. Many people are familiar with tanker ie, since they are highly caue, and they release large volumes of oil into the ocean. Only a small percentage of global oil spills are related to tanker accidents due to explosions, hull failure, or running aground, however.

These spills tend to be very harmful because of the how to know if your pregnancy is going well volume of oil released at once, and they pose a serious threat to marine animals and seabirds. Such disasters frequently bring attention to issues with safe oil handling, which can lead to reforms in petroleum regulation.

Oil spills in the water can also be caused by natural seepage. Cauxe tectonic plates shift, oil can be released from reserves trapped deep beneath the ocean floor. Natural seepage is sometimes accelerated through human activity such as drilling. Offshore drilling routinely creates low level spills, and can sometimes cause a " blowout ," a failure in the drilling system that leads to a massive release of petroleum.

Most engines, such thhe those used in automobiles, run on petroleum-based fuel and lubricants. These substances are slowly released during operation, accumulating on roads or in the ground, where they can poison the surrounding soil. After it rains, these pollutants can end up in local wells and reservoirs, streams and rivers, and ultimately in the ocean. Such oil spills are not cxuse visually dramatic as those from a marine accident, but can do serious damage both to land and coastal areas.

The improper disposal of used motor oil can worsen runoff and pollution. Dumping used oil in a drain is illegal in many places because drains often run directly to nearby rivers, lakes, or other bodies of water, and eventually into the sea.

These waterways can quickly become polluted, killing fish and other wildlife. The extraction and storage of oil can also create seepage and spills. On land, storage tanks and pipes may be damaged by whxt disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or tornadoes, or simple wear caused by time. The damage can result in leaks of different sizes. Such oil spills can be especially disastrous if a pipeline is damaged, often due ix structural failure or excessive pressure, because of the high volume of oil these lines can release.

Although no oil spill is good, the type of oil that spills can affect the severity of the problem and the methods used to clean it up. Very ooil oils, like gasoline and jet fuel, are highly toxic and can have how to unsecure a secured pdf immediate impact on the area surrounding the spill.

They os also extremely spil,s to clean up; although these fuels will what is the cause of most oil spills, anything that's still liquid must be recovered as quickly as possible and contaminated soil must be removed.

Water that is contaminated must be specially treated to make it usable. Light oils Ч diesel fuellil oiland light oi, for example Ч are not as volatile or toxic as very light oils, although they still pose a serious contamination risk. Some portion will evaporate, and it tends to pool on top of any contaminated water.

Medium oils, which includes most crude oils, undergo less evaporation, which means there is more to clean up. This type of oil can cause serious harm to any organisms exposed to it. Heavy fuel oils don't evaporate much at all, and can be extremely difficult to clean up after a spill. The petroleum industry undertakes many measures what is the cause of most oil spills reduce the likelihood of oil spills.

Proactive technology includes blowout preventers, which cut off the pump pressure in case of an accident, and increased hull strength on oil tankers. These measures help to protect both the environment and the oil companies themselves, which often lose a great deal of profit and public image in the event of a spille.

When a spill does occur, however, efforts to clean up the oil os no matter the type Ч can be difficult and exhausting. The oil is often physically gathered and removed from an area using skimmers and vacuums, and wildlife is cleaned and moved when possible. Dispersants may be added to polluted water to break up the oil. There are even forms of microorganisms that break down and help remove oil in a region, which can help clean up in a way that does not cause further harm to the area.

Such reactive measures are imperfect, however, and these spills can still cause tremendous harm to both plants and animals. In some locations, entire populations of some species Ч including fish, marine mammals, and birds Ч have been killed.

The reproductive systems of many wpills can also be damaged by oil, making it that much more difficult for populations to recover. Oil is extremely difficult to clean up completely, and often takes many years to disperse naturally. Spills often make areas of water or land dangerous for people as well, and can wash up on shores, leaving an ugly, sticky mess. Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer.

Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard Wjat and spends her free time reading, cooking, and spklls the great outdoors. Please enter the following code:. Login: Forgot password?

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Large oil spills in the world are due to oil transportation. Oil tankers usually have faulty issues or some collide with other ships hence causing massive oil spills. When such an occurrence happens thousands of barrels of crude oil freely spill to the sea. This is very harmful to aquatic life. Thousands of oil spills occur in U.S. waters each year. Most of these spills are small, for example when oil spills while refueling a ship. But these spills can still cause damage, especially if they happen in sensitive environments, like beaches, mangroves, and wetlands. Large oil spills . Jun 24, †Ј The Gulf Oil Spill is the most well-known example of this explosion cause. The common cause of oil pipeline ruptures and resultant oil spills is also apparent. However, for oil pipeline spills the rupture mechanism differs from pipeline explosions, even though pressure transients are still the common-mode failure cause.

What are the environmental and economic effects of oil spills? Is oil spill preventable, and how should we respond to its occurrence? In this article, our focus will be on the causes, environmental effects, and cleaning of oil spills. An oil spill is any arbitrary discharge of liquid oil crude or refined that results in polluting the land, air, and water thereby, hurting the entire ecosystem. Oil spill brings about contamination of the environment and as such, threatens the health of everything in the affected areas.

On the other hand, environmental pollution is the release of harmful substances into the natural environments that cause adverse change. It is a careless release of contaminants that poses threats to the environment and human health.

Furthermore, environmental pollution is a global challenge, and its effect on human health and the environment is alarming. It occurs as a result of careless industrial wastes discharge, toxic emissions, oil spills, and many more. Unfortunately, some pollution is accidental, but the majority of it is products of human carelessness. Oil spills may occur if any of the following happens Ч humans are careless, equipment breaks down, occurrences of natural disasters, terrorism, and civil unrest.

Also, oil spill on the ocean and rivers usually starts on a small area but spreads fast as the river or ocean flows. The more it spreads, the thinner it becomes. Consequently, the spread creates problems for the ecosystem and leaves everything within its reach to struggle for survival. Most oil spills happen as a result of human errors. However, some happen because some exploration and production companies want to cut costs.

For instance, several major oil spills, including the Valdez Oil Spill in March and BP oil Spill of , all have elements of human errors in them. Human errors may occur if some of your crew members ignore fire safety precautions when carrying out ship-to-ship cargo transfer operations. Also, human error may arise if there are total negligence and disregard for established environmental safety standards.

Drilling equipment can break down without prior notice, and this could result in spillage and pollution. You may think a blowout preventer is all it takes to prevent spill while drilling, but what if the equipment is not well buckled? Also, some mechanical failures in refineries may result in oil spills if they do not attend to them on time. Vessels carrying a large volume of crude oil may leak some of its contents into the seas.

Also, pipelines conveying oil to refineries may develop leaks over time, thus spilling oil into the sea. Furthermore, deterioration of underground and aboveground tanks may result in leakages after some years of usage.

One of the causes of oil spills is natural disasters. For instance, a raging storm may sink an oil tanker, spill its content, and cause pollution. Furthermore, an oil seep is a natural oil spillage and an unwanted environmental pollution agent. Oil seeps are not forceful but gentle yet, create so many problems for the environment. A terrorist act is another cause of an oil spill.

When militants vandalize oil platform, spillage occurs and invariably pollute the water within the environment. Also affected are humans and all living organisms that live in the entire area. A failed ship-to-ship oil transfer operations may result in an oil spill. For instance, an accident resulting from bad manoeuvring during STS cargo transfer operations will result in spillage.

Oil spills may also occur when detaching hoses after transhipment so, operators need to train up their inexperienced crew members to avoid problems. For more details, check our article on ship-to-ship cargo transfer safety. Illegal dumping is another cause of spillage and environmental pollution.

Some industries have little respect for the environment thus; therefore, they dump used oil arbitrarily without considering the impact of their actions. However, this is usually prevalent in countries where there is no strict law protecting the environment.

Cleaning activities such as crude oil washing is another cause of oil spill that we tend to ignore. Although the amount of oil released into the sea per tanker may be small, the reverse is the case when you consider the number of vessels washed per day. Another cause of oil spills is the failure to check for leaks before vessels sails away from loading terminals. Prevention they say is better than cure, so vessel owners are supposed to equip their tankers with oil leak detection systems.

Many water vehicles spill oils into the sea in the course of moving from one point to another. Additionally, some sporting activities in lakes and coastal waters result in oil-spilling by vehicles and equipment.

Every form of pollution, including oil spills, has its effect on people and the environment. However, as much as we cannot always prevent accidents, we all can help reduce it. Oil spillage has some environmental effects such as damaged ecosystems, economic loss, tourism disruption, and civil unrest. Oil pollution creates problems for the ecosystems, especially the aquatic mammals that cannot live in hostile environments.

Consequently, it puts them through breeding problems and invariably depletes their population. Oil pollution is not just a problem for aquatic mammals but also land animals and birds. Many of them get trapped in some spills and lose their lives in the process.

Also, all plants in polluted areas suffer the same fate as the aquatic mammals. Spillage prevents them from getting carbon dioxide, a vital ingredient in photosynthesis, thereby endangering their lives. Another effect of an oil spill is financial losses.

For instance, an oil spill may attract fire and subsequent loss of property and other valuables within the area. Also, the cost of cleaning spillage is not cheap, so is the spilt oil. Furthermore, spillage disrupts economic activities in affected areas, and as such, making businesses and the government lose revenue. Additionally, another effect of an oil spill is the loss of tourism activities. The essence of going to the beach is to sight beautiful environments and have fun, but such sightings are no longer possible because of pollution.

Also, boating and other sporting activities usually suffer setbacks because no tourist wants to swim or sunbathe in a dirty environment. The host communities may become hostile to the oil-producing companies if they suspect any form of carelessness in their operations.

Also, owners of nearby businesses who have lost their means of livelihood may begin to agitate for the relocation of the careless oil spilling companies.

Due to the different means of transporting oil and petroleum products , spillage could occur in water, on land, and below the ground. Let us now examine the effects of each of them on our environments. As a dispersing agent, water increases the rate at which oil spreads, as well as the spillage areas. Consequently, it creates more devastating effects on the environment. Oil spill on the ground does not disperse as much as it does on water, but goes deep into the earth, mixes up with underground water, and causes malnutrition to plants.

Also affected by a spillage on land are organisms and some mammals within the affected areas. An underground oil spill occurs when an underground storage tank or pipeline leaks. It affects the soil and plants faster than you can ever imagine because oil contains toxic chemicals. Furthermore, underground spills pollute underground water and make it unsuitable for human and plant consumption.

We can prevent oil spillage by enforcing environmental laws and regulations, providing adequate training for oil handlers, carrying out routine checks on oil equipment, and carrying out proper maintenance on vessels and storage tanks.

Therefore, countries with less strict environmental laws need to amend their existing laws while those with better regulations must ensure compliance if they want to win the war against pollution.

Also, developing countries must prioritize environmental safety above revenue generation. To prevent an oil spill, exploration companies should provide proper training for their drillers. Also, crew members in charge of ship-to-ship cargo transfer must possess the necessary knowledge in cargo transhipment.

To summarise, every employee whose job is related to oil drilling, storage, and transportation must be well trained. Besides, they should check out for leaks, and if possible, adopt leak detection technologies for timely alerts when leakage occurs. Moreover, leak checks will ensure early leak detection and reduce pollution impacts.

Also, do whatever you can to make sure the vessel does not breakdown in the middle of the ocean. The introduction of more pollution cleaning techniques is an indication that industry players are not closing their eyes to environmental pollution. How can we restore a polluted environment to its previous state and make it habitable to humans and animals? To clean up oil spills, make use of oil booms, oil dispersant, natural method, skimming, and manual labour.

Pollution cleaning experts use Booms to reduce the possibility of polluting shorelines and other resources. Also, it is a device that helps in concentrating oil in thicker surface layers for the effective use of skimmers, vacuums, and other collection methods. An oil dispersant is a mixture of emulsifiers and solvents that helps in breaking oil into small droplets following an oil spill. In cleaning up spillage, when added to water, dispersal agents allow the oil to mix up with water and form molecules.

This method is economical and easy, but it is the slowest way of cleaning an oil spill. It is a way of allowing nature Ч the sun, wind, weather, and tide Ч to fizzle out the oil spill. The skimming technique involves various mechanisms that physically separate the oil from the water and place the oil into collection tanks. It is most effective in calm waters. The manual labour approach does not require technology but uses hand tools such as spades, shovels, rakes, hoses, pumps, vacuum trucks, and other equipment.

However, it is time-consuming, energy-consuming, and labour intensive. Understanding Oil Spill and Environmental Pollution An oil spill is any arbitrary discharge of liquid oil crude or refined that results in polluting the land, air, and water thereby, hurting the entire ecosystem. How Oil Spill Happens Oil spills may occur if any of the following happens Ч humans are careless, equipment breaks down, occurrences of natural disasters, terrorism, and civil unrest. Causes of Oil Spill Carelessness : Most oil spills happen as a result of human errors.

Equipment Failure: Drilling equipment can break down without prior notice, and this could result in spillage and pollution. Leakages: Vessels carrying a large volume of crude oil may leak some of its contents into the seas.

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