Cleaning Up Oil Spills FAQ

We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding our products and cleaning up oil spills.

If your question is not answered in the list below, then please do not hesitate to use our Online Form for more information or suggestions related to your specific scenario.

What is the first thing I should do when I have an oil spill?
STOP and focus on containing the spill, prevent it from spreading and then consider your options. What you should not do is take steps that can spread the contaminated area. If soap and water had been your solution in the past you were just spreading out the spill and would have lost your point of contamination. Or: If soap and water is the first solution that comes to mind, you are just spreading out the spill and losing your point of contamination. It is most important to first determine your remediation strategy prior to cleaning up that spill.

Everything from the cost, to environmental impact to decisions that may only cost money upfront and still require remediation expenses in the future, should be addressed when developing a remediation strategy. Oil Solutions is a tested remediation solution. Each application of OS Powder or OS Step 1/ Step 2, is a step in the remediation process that either eliminates the need for additional remediation or reduces a considerable amount of time and costly labor required to finished the remediation, resulting in a lower cost of total remediation.

Oil Solutions removes odor on contact, binds hydrocarbons on contact and treats any contaminated soil associated with the spill. A soil sample can be taken and tested locally for a small charge to determine if further remediation is necessary.

Where can OS Step 1 / Step 2 be used?
Because of the following reasons, Oil Solutions can be used on any hydrocarbon spill in almost any environment for the following reasons. The product is: -especially effective for cleanup of oil spills, gasoline spills, fuel spills, and hydraulic/automotive fluid spills, around marine bilge areas, fueling depots, marinas, docks, lakes, rivers, and open water.

-poses no health or respiratory threat to workers.
-non-hazardous and non-toxic to the environment.
-can be used on any solid surface or water.
-can be swept away, thrown away or washed away.

Ideal for medium to large spills on runways, aprons, maintenance areas, and fueling transfer areas.

What can OS Step 1 / Step 2 be used on?
Oil Solutions is flexible and can be used to treat a large variety of contaminants ranging from heavy oils and sludge’s to light fuels and solvents including:

-Gasoline Diesel Motor Oils.
-Crude Oil Automotive Fluids Hydraulic Fluids.
-Kerosene Jet Fuel Paints and solvents

Compared to existing methods of remediation, Oil Solutions is cost-effective in hazardous waste handling and disposal due to the non-hazardous nature of the resulting microencapsulated residue.

How much OS Step 1 /Step 2 or OS Powder is required to clean a spill?
First estimate the volume of the spill. Depending on the surface, most spills are best cleaned up using both OS Powder (for puddles of oil) and then OS Step 1 Step 2 to take out the stain, odor or address soil and porous surfaces.* OS Powder: OS Powder is used to clean up a pooling spill or a spill on water.

OS Powder absorbs 13 times its weight. Begin to apply the powder by the handful. As it absorbs the spill it will turn the color of the spill. Continue to apply more powder until the spill is fully absorbed. Any unused powder or slightly absorbed powder can be saved and reused on an additional spill. OS Step 1 / Step 2 MUST be applied in 1-1-1 ratio to fully remediate the spill, odor or stain. For a one gal spill, one gallon of OS Step 1 and one gallon of OS Step 2 must be used to treat the spill.

What results can be expected?
OS Powder: The powder will quickly absorb the spill and congeal into solid clusters. If cleaning up a heavier hydrocarbon such as heating oil or crude oil, the powder will form a solid mat of absorbent material. It will quickly dry hard.
OS Step 1 / Step 2:
-Step 1 is a non-hazardous liquid that will react within seconds to the hydrocarbon spill. It will turn the spill clear and eliminate the odor.

-Step 2 is a non-hazardous liquid that is applied as a curing agent and immediately following the application of Step 1, it will create a solid residue.

-The solid residue after applying both Step 1 and Step 2 may be accelerated by combining the two solutions together with the spill. When Step 2 is applied the micro-encapsulation is complete and the spill is non-leachable within the silica material. It is best to let the spill material dry to form a white powder.

How much time should I wait between applying Step 1 and then Step 2?
The most important step in applying Step 1 is to ensure that Step 1 has made contact with as much of the spilled contaminant as possible. Once Step 1 is spread over the spill, no more than one minute is required to wait to apply Step 2.
Does Oil Solutions kill odor on contact?
YES! On contact. Oil Solutions products react within seconds when applied to a spill. They have a strong affinity for hydrocarbons and the characteristics of the waste are quickly eliminated.
What happened if I've used Oil Solutions and there is still an odor?
If an odor remains after application, that is because Step 1 did not make contact with all of the spill contaminant.

If the spill occurred on a porous surface, clean up the residue from the first attempt, and repeat the process. If the spill occurred in soil, please refer to the “How is a spill remediated in soil or aggregate material?”.

Can I leave the resulting powder from OS Step 1 / Step 2 on-site either outside or inside a commercial building or residential home?
The resulting silica is safe to leave on the natural ground, in water, in soil, on grass, or on a cement floor in the basement of a home.

OS Step 1 / Step 2 : The resulting silica is 40-45% by volume solid silica and 55-60% water. Both the solid residue and the water achieve a neutral pH. The residue is non-leachable, non-extractable and does not retain any of the encapsulated hydrocarbon characteristics, such as toxicity. It is safe to leave on site, enter the sewers, wash away with rain water, leave in the soil or leave under a residential oil tank.

OS POWDER: OS Powder is listed with the U.S. EPA under the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan. It is also non-leachable and non-hazardous. It will not absorb water and will float indefinitely until collected. On the molecular level, the contaminants that OS Powder cleaned up are micro-encapsulated and are EPA listed to be disposed of in a Class C landfill.

After using OS Step 1/ Step 2 the result is a thick wax like substance, not a powder?
If the proper 1-1-1 ratio is not used, you will not achieve the desired results. Equal parts of the spill contaminant, Step 1 and Step 2, must be calculated correctly. If the result is sticky wax, then too much Step 2 was applied. Although it is in-convenient to clean, it still has all the non-hazardous, non-toxic, micro-encapsulated qualities of the dried powder.
OS Step 1 Step 2 dried to a hard powder, not fluffy powder, and is stuck on the floor?
If a small spill is being addressed, only a small amount of Step 1 / Step 2 is necessary. When using a small quantity of the product it produces less powder. In some cases the powder may adhere to the spill surface. This specifically occurs especially when cleaning a spill on a porous surface like cement. A small percentage of Step 1/Step 2 is absorbed into the pores of the cement. The resulting silica powder is trapped in these pores.

To clean the area, use a wire or stiff brush, to brush the powder off. If cleaning a larger area use a hose or a power.

Will Oil Solutions Freeze?
OS Powder can be stored in any convenient location. OS Step 1 / Step 2 however, will freeze at approximately 32 degrees F. If frozen and thawed, the product will continue to work as expected.
What are some ideas for applying OS Liquid?
For small spills, the 32oz spray bottle works best.
The product can be poured straight from the bottle and spread with a broom or mop.
It can also be poured into a watering can for greater coverage area.

For larger spills over a large surface or on grass, soil or on walls, a pressurized pump sprayer works best to ensure contact is made on the entire spill site. A 1-5 gallon hand pressurized pump from a hardware store will cover a large area.

Is Oil Solutions Step 1 / Step 2 actually remediation?
The Oil Solutions technology is considered a remediation technology since it removes the contaminant from the environment through micro encapsulation and subsequently removes the characteristics of the waste, minimizing harm to the environment.
How is Oil Solutions different from bioremediation?
Unlike Bioremediation, Oil Solutions products introduce silicates, elements common to the environment after remediation. Silicates are naturally occurring minerals which provide a solid vehicle form for cleanup of the micro encapsulated wasted spilled. In bioremediation, non-native species (microorganism) or genetically engineered microbe is introduced into a different environment that can have an adverse effect on the surrounding ecosystem.

After the bioremediation is complete, the microorganism can remain in an active state for a long time until a stimulus enables it to exit dormancy and possibly cause disruption in certain parts of a food chain.

Although bioremediation has advantages, many questions and concerns have not been addressed. such as:

What is the long-term effect of the residual microorganisms used in bioremediation? As the hydrocarbon food source is consumed from introducing microorganisms to a hydrocarbon spill, the microorganism activity drastically decreases. What is the level of residual hydrocarbon at that point? What other toxins could be created from the microorganism activity under less than ideal conditions?

Since oxygen is required for bioremediation, what are the effects in creating an oxygen deficient environment in a closed space?

How is a spill remediated in soil or aggregate material?
The overall principal is to mix the soil with Steps 1 and 2, so that the entire spill makes contact with the solution. ON-SITE: On-site soil remediation is achieved using both Step 1/ Step 2. Shallow surface soil or aggregate material contamination is microencapsulated by using a surface tilling device such as a rake.

The resultant silica (sand) matrix effectively locks the hazardous components into a stable, environmentally friendly, sand-like residue that may be left in place without the need for expensive oil spill remediation activities.

OFF-SITE: Remediation on excavated contaminated soil or aggregate material is achieved by using an appropriate mixing device with liquid spray application capabilities. High-speed mixing equipment such as a pug mill provides turbulent mixing to ensure effective contact of the contaminant with the solution.

Spraying 1-5 percent by weight of soil with each Oil Solutions Step 1 / Step 2 product typically satisfies regulatory requirements.