Autumn 2010

Synthetic turf mops combat oil

TenCate Grass in Dayton (USA) is helping mop up the polluted oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion of an oil rig there. The oil is being removed very effectively by using mops based on special synthetic turf yarns. 

TenCate Grass in Dayton was contacted by Crucial Inc. in Louisiana (USA), which supplies materials for processing wastewater and oil-spill equipment, and asked to supply the specialist polypropylene yarns; production began in May. Crucial then used the yarns to make many tens of thousands of mops for BP. Polypropylene has certain chemical properties that make oil stick to it and is thus ideal for mopping it up. The mops were either attached to a rope and thrown into drainage ditches full of oil or they were swept across the shores to absorb the oil. They were then burned and disposed of after their one-time use.

‘It’s a unique use of this product’, Ian Petrie (VP Sales & Marketing Americas) told us. ‘This is a good way to be involved in the oil clean-up.’ Raymond Walker, Executive Director of the Economic & Tourism Council of Rhea County, in which Dayton is located, said that TenCate is a major company and has ‘made a difference’.
The same type of yarn was used after the Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska in 1978.
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Possible solutions
TenCate Geosynthetics USA – working in part with its partners – has introduced a number of possible solutions based on TenCate Geotube® technology (storage and filtration) and other industrial fabric products. These have not as yet resulted in any concrete applications. TenCate Geotube® containers may be deployed as buffers to protect the salt marshes or to reinforce the verges which were raised using sand in order to hold back the oil.

Blue fabric (Tecawork Blue 65287)