Follow-up to pond oil spil disaster

coxy(6)June 6, 2013

First, thanks to everyone for the advice. I'm trying the newspaper tomorrow to see if I can get the rest of the oil off. I have been overflowing the pond since Monday, have changed the waterfall pads and lava rocks twice and there is still oil there. Amazing how hard it is to get out. I'm sure it's motor oil and not mineral-I can smell it.
I have used two new filter pads which cost 50.00 and wonder if I can safely flush with water then maybe soak in a bit of Dawn detergent and flush again to enable me to reuse them. After just a day each they are filled with oil. Same with the lava rock although it's cheaper than the pads.
So far all the fish are alive. I'm sure I have done an entire water change and the water is crystal--except for the slick on top :(
What do you think?

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PKponder TX(7b)

I would go with the newspaper, just drag it across the surface, the oil will want to stuck to it. Do it until you are tired and after a few hours do it some more.

There may be a way to salvage the waterfall pads, I'm not familiar with them. I would NOT recommend using any soap product on fish supplies. Can you fit them in the washing machine for a hot water only cycle?

Mine smelled of motor oil too, it's probably some sort of machine oil or lubricant. I was convinced that neighbor kids had dumped something in my pond.

Good luck with the cleanup.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 4:59AM
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I can't imagine what would be wrong with using detergent to remove oil from fabric of some kind. That is precisely what it is for. I actually doubt a trace of detergent would be an issue for fish, but using an extra rinse should resolve that issue. Unfortunately I don't know how the pads actually work and it is possible that they might become less effective. Can't be less effective than throwing them away.

You already know that I believe that you have done more than necessary. To support this, may I point out that one of the first things we were told in basic chemistry was that oil can form a mono layer of molecules on top of water. The sheen is light scattered of of several varied super thin layers. Therefore, there is almost no oil on the top of the water. The problem is that more oil is stuck to plants etc. below that is slowly releasing and floating up. This probably means that you will occasionally need to redo the newspaper thing. If you had had a micro pond, I would have suggested removing and washing the plants in some dawn, but that is impossible in a 5000 gal pond.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 1:36PM
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I did soak the pads and lava rocks in a bit of Dawn detergent and water and rinsed like a fiend. Seems to have taken out all of the oil and no suds in the pond. Replaced dirty ones with these clean ones and will now wash again and keep switching back and forth. The pads and rocks do catch a lot of the oil so I'll keep doing this as long as I have to. Things are looking pretty good now. Did the newspaper thing and also paper towels in the skimmer where a lot of the oil is collecting. I have no plants in the pond and water is crystal-it ought to be, since I'm sure I've done a complete water change!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 9:22PM
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