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Understanding the difference between oil booms and oil pillows

When it comes to containing and absorbing oil spills, you might find oil booms and oil pillows in your spill kit. Know the difference between these two items to ensure optimal use of each and efficient oil containment and absorption.

Oil Booms

Oil booms are long tubes that are filled with super-absorbent material. Shorter versions are often called “socks”.

Absorbent oil booms are the first line of defence for containing large spills. They create a barrier to keep spills from spreading and absorb oil-based liquids that have spilt in a river, lake, ocean or other bodies of water. Oil-only absorbent booms are designed to float on water and trap any oils or fuels spilt in the water. Even when saturated, oil control booms continue to float on the surface.

Oil booms can also contain oily spills on land, particularly outside in the rain, as it hugs the ground to prevent spreading.

Ideal applications for oil booms include mining, manufacturing, transport and logistics, and water and waste services.

Oil Pillows

Once a large oil spill is contained, oil pillows help to soak up the trapped oil fast. Oil pillows are also used to soak up constant drips from a single source, such as a leaky pipe coupler where repair is delayed.

High-capacity oil pillows will soak oils but are not recommended for acids, bases, or other corrosive liquids. Most oil pillows have a large surface area, high capacity, and fast-wicking filler to soak up significant volumes of oil – ensuring reliability in controlling spills and leaks both inside and outdoors.

Oil pillows can handle high volumes of oil leaks and won’t tear. They also won't absorb any water-based liquid.Ideal applications for oil pillows include maintenance, manufacturing, transport and logistic workshops, and food and beverage industries.

Similarities between oil booms and oil pillows

Both oil booms and oil pillows have the following properties:

  • They can absorb several times their weight.
  • They are easy to deploy and retrieve.
  • They are UV and wear-resistant.
  • They are suitable for outdoor use without breaking down for up to 12 months.
  • They are easy to spot outdoors.
  • They clearly indicate saturation levels.
  • Experts in oil containment and absorption

    ENSA provides oil booms and oil pillows for the containment and absorption of oil in indoor and outdoor applications on land and bodies of water. If you would like to know more about our oil booms and oil pillows, Get in contact with a representative from ENSA with a representative from ENSA Environmental today.