Soak Up Leaks and Contain Spills with Assortment of Sorbent Solutions

Paul V. Arnold, Noria Corporation
Tags: maintenance and reliability

Try as we may to avoid it, machinery is prone to deposit oil onto plant floors. That may be the result of whirring components that fling droplets about or rattling conveyor chains that shake oil free or an outright leak in a lubrication-containment or delivery system. By whatever method, it happens.

Regardless of its size and scope, oil on plant floors has the potential to be a safety hazard, an environmental hazard, a raw material contamination hazard, an impactor on finished-product quality, and a real eyesore for workers and site visitors. One leak can have legal- and compliance-related (OSHA, EPA, FDA, USDA) ramifications.

 Socks and rolls soak up oil leaks from this industrial air compressor.

So what are you going to do about it? Contain and clean up the mess with absorbent products.

There are a host of sorbent products available to plant organizations. Use them in a singular or collaborative manner to address the specific drip/leak/spill issues that you are facing.

What follows is a refresher course on some of the sorbent/spill containment products that can help in your quest to be safe and productive as well as clean, lean and green.

Pads and rolls: Available in universal, oil-only and chemical models, these products (generally made from polypropylene fibers) can be used for almost any indoor, outdoor and/or hazardous material application. Place them around machinery, under leaky pipes or fittings, and in messy traffic areas.

Socks: These flexible tubes contain and absorb liquids. They mold around corners and conform to uneven surfaces to minimize the spill area and soak up the wayward fluid. A variety of types, sizes and wicking-material interiors are available.

Dikes: These interlocking solid polyurethane strips can contain or divert spills. They are made for confining deeper pools of liquid and larger flows.

Barrier spill matting: Needle-punched polypropylene fibers and a special backing allow this product to absorb oil, water or chemicals and prevent these fluids from penetrating through to the floor.

Loose granular: These multi-purpose absorbents are generally made from natural products such as corncob or sphagnum peat moss. Use them for spill clean-up and stabilization of free liquids.

Specialty products: These include sorbents pillows, drip pans, and drain covers and plugs.

Product Resources:

• Kafko International, Ltd.

• New Pig

• SPC - A Brady Company

ASTM OKs Method to Determine Moisture Content

ASTM International Committee D02 on Petroleum Products and Lubricants recently approved a new method which covers the determination of moisture content in new and in-service lubricants and additives by relative humidity sensor. The standard, ASTM D 7546, offers users an alternative to moisture testing by Karl Fischer titration or the less quantitative “crackle test”.
  • More than 740 representatives from 231 companies attended the 2009 Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association annual meeting in Miami Beach, Fla. ILMA’s members include independent lubricant companies that produce more than 25 percent of all lubricants and 80 percent or more of the metalworking fluids and other specialty industrial lubricants sold in the U.S. For more information, visit
  • The Connecticut Quality Improvement Award Partnership recognized Oil Purification Systems (OPS) with its gold-level Innovation Prize. OPS was cited for its Eco-Pur System, a supplemental filtration system that uses electronic controls to continuously optimize the cleaning process and remove both solid and liquid contaminants from lubricating oil. This is the third consecutive year that CQIA has honored OPS.