Navy Introduces Hazard Remover
Considerable publicity has recently been given another development by the Navy in the field of fire prevention and fire protection. This is a method for removing oil slick and slime from surface water.
A serious problem in any busy port is. the presence of oil and oily liquids floating on the surface of the water. In dock areas where it collects around vessels and piers this oily waste constitutes a serious fire hazard. Serious fires have been known to occur where such oil slicks have become ignited and communicated to vessels or the substructures of piers and wharves. The accumulation of these flammable lighterthan-water liquids presents a special hazard where they may come in contact with wood piers, particularly those constructed of creosoted lumber and pilings.
This hazard is so great that in the presence of such oil slicks, welding operations must be discontinued until the slick is removed. Skimming the slicks off, emulsifying them by agitation or forcing them away from docks with hose streams are all costly, time-taking and inadequate methods.
Navy technicians, long concerned with the oil-pollution problem, have discovered that sand, roasted with asphalt and oil mixture, combines with slicks to form a heavy semi-solid. Agitation, such as when a slick is sprayed with this sand, promptly causes the compound to sink, removing the hazard. By using this method, pilings, spaces under piers and between pier and ships, inaccessible by other methods, can be cleaned of oil sludge and slick.
According to information released by the Office of Information, Navy Department, the treated sand is blown onto the oil-covered water through a hose connected to a tank of high-pressure air. A special flat nozzle is used to diffuse the sand over the surface of the oil slick. The pressure must not be too great or the sand will be driven through the slick and will sink to the bottom
without picking up a maximum coating of oil.
The equipment for using the application is reported to be comparatively light and easy to handle, and well adapted for use in out-of-the-way places such as in the narrow confines between the surface of the water and underside of a dock.
Thus far the system is not yet reported commercially available.