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According to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), approximately one billion gallons of waste oil is produced by the United States alone, and around 500 million gallons of that ends up being carelessly dumped on the ground or into storm drains every year. That waste oil includes used motor oil, which accounts for 40% of the pollution in American waterways.
Waste oils are petroleum-based or synthetic oil that has been used or discarded, usually because it has already been contaminated with dirt and chemicals. These include used lubricants, coolants and emissions such as hydraulic oils, transmission oil, brake fluids, motor oil, and crankcase oils. Improper disposal of waste oil pollutes the environment and destroys our natural resources, contaminating marine life as well as entire coastal ecosystems. And when these waste oil drips out of engines or are dumped into storm drains, the oil travels into the water table, bringing with it toxic gases and harmful metallic dust particles. This poisons both soil and drinking water.
There are many ways to address the problem of waste oil pollution. The best solution is to recycle these waste oils into usable oils again. According to the American Petroleum Institute, recycling about two gallons of used motor oil saves enough energy to generate electricity for 7.5 straight days of television. If we were to recycle all the motor oil thrown away each year, we can provide power to more than 300,000 homes annually. Oil refining companies can produce up to 3,500 liters of usable oil from every 5,000 liters of processed waste oil. This recycled oil can now be used as lubricating oil or can even be further processed for use as heating oil eliminating the need to buy fuel and saving money.
Companies that produce waste oil such as factories, car repair shops and manufacturing plants, must take part in responsibly managing their used oils. Recycling these used oils start with collecting them after use. It is important to utilize the best tools for collecting these environmental hazards.
There are a lot of effective waste oil storage and containment products that efficiently handle the collection of used oils. They include:
Collection and Containment Tanks. These are ideal for secondary oil containment and can handle a large capacity of waste oil. They also function as a preventative spill response, keeping waste oil from seeping into the ground if there is a drum rupture. These tanks are also necessary to meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations for Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures (SPCC).
Mobile Drum Containers. These are oil containment drums that provide portable waste oil collection and safely transport leaking drums.
Waste Oil Collection Pans. These are ideal waste oil containers to catch and contain all oil fluids that drip and leak from under machinery and equipment, preventing oil from reaching the ground.
Proper management of waste oil is greatly beneficial to everyone. Collecting used oils and recycling them into usable oil adds to our energy supply while at the same time conserving our natural resources. It also eliminates any liability that may be related to improper management. Responsibly managing waste oil and recycling will keep oil out of our ecosystem and prevent contamination and pollution of our environment. This will mean a clean supply of potable water for us and a protected and preserved aquatic habitat.