Dealing with an oil spill on a roadway should be a high priority to remove its potential danger to motorists, as well as keeping the roadway clean and preventing an environmental hazard for our water ways. Quick tip: as soon as the oil spill occurs, if at all possible, cover the area with sand, sawdust or kitty litter to soak up as much oil as possible.

Oil quickly soaks deeply into bitumen, which is quite porous. The sooner the spill is treated, the more likely full removal of the oil and stain can be achieved. There are various types of oil which may end up on the roadway, including hydraulic oil, gearbox oil and carbonised engine oil (oil which has gone through the combustion process). Each of these types of oil stains or spills require different processes to remove. Warning: using the wrong process can cause a permanent stain and /or damage and erode the bitumen!

When the qualified technicians at The Stain Eaters treat oil spills and oil stains on bitumen, we use the following process:

  1. For a major spill over a road, we will first organise a road closure.
  2. A three step chemical solution is used to remove the oil:
    • Step 1 – Trace in and dissolve the molecular structure of the oil.
    • Step 2 – Suspend the oil in situ preventing further absorption.
    • Step 3 – Draw the oil in suspended chemical solution to the surface.
  3. The oil is then removed from the surface of the bitumen using heated water, under pressure.
  4. The entire area is neutralised and deep cleaned.
  5. The oil is safely collected and discharged without harm to the environment.

An example of an industrial oil spill which occurred when a rubbish truck picking up a dump bin burst a hydraulic hose spilling 200 Litres of oil over a clients concrete tilt slab wall and driveway in shown in the image below.

Results of cleaning of the bitumen is shown in the centre of the image below.

Depending on the age of the oil stain and how deeply the oil has absorbed into the bitumen, a slight stain may remain on the surface after treatment, however that will fade over a few weeks of UV light from the sun.