Oil Gone Easy
Returning Water to Nature
If you accidentally spill fuel or oil overboard, you’re responsible for damages and can be fined up to $10,000. And don’t try to clean it up with dispersants containing detergents. They only contribute to the pollution and could cost you an additional $25,000.
There aren’t many good options for removing oil from bilges either. Soaps marketed as “bilge cleaners” are just dispersants and shouldn’t be pumped into the water. You can use absorbent pads or rolls, but they’re a mess to handle once full. There are also expensive oil separators for the bilge pump’s discharge line. A cleaner option is Oil Gone Easy’s Marine S-200 to deal with both what’s in your bilge and overboard spills.
In the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska in 1989, a new approach to removing the oil, called bioremediation, was tried. A nutrient is spread on the oil to promote the rapid growth of natural oil-decomposition bacteria. It feeds only the helpful bacteria, which, after consuming the hydrocarbons, feed on each other to return the bacteria population back to pre-spill levels.
It worked but had some problems that Jim Lynn, a chemical engineer at another oil giant, began to address. Once solved, the company he worked for said it was more interested in drilling for oil than cleaning it up. So Lynn went out on his own with S-200, which has been successfully used on major industrial oil spills worldwide and is now available for our much-smaller boat cleanups. — D.S.