How To Clean Up A Diesel Spill On Concrete?

  • Although I am unfamiliar with #2 heating oil/diesel, I feel that removing this product/odor from a basement will be a long-term process.
  • Cleaning gasoline from concrete is difficult, but it can typically be done with cat litter (as indicated) and then laundry soap powder combined with a little water and allowed overnight to “pull” out the gasoline. Even so, it’s possible that it’ll take more than one attempt.
  • I’m not sure if this would be safe in a basement, but here’s a link to something similar that would work for diesel:
  • “In a clean empty gallon milk jug, combine hot water, ammonia, washing soda, and vinegar. After shaking the jug, clean the area where the fuel was spilled with it. This will disinfect the area and remove any odors.”

What is the best way to clean up a diesel spill?

  • To absorb the liquid, it is normally recommended to use an absorbent such as conventional cat litter (not scoopable). Apply to spill; wait 30 minutes before sweeping up. At least once, repeat the process. Ensure that litter is properly disposed of, which is normally at a designated location in your neighborhood.
  • Then you can use something like Greased Lightening or blue Dawn dish-washing detergent to cut through the petroleum and wash away any remaining diesel. Clean it up with a strong brush or broom. Rinse many times with fresh water.

Does diesel evaporate from concrete?

In our section of the Southwest, concrete contractors utilize diesel fuel to cure the concrete. Is this a viable method of concrete curing in the desert? In the summer, it appears to evaporate in a matter of hours, yet it appears to be effective throughout the Cooper months, or is this just an illusion? Other than water or a cover, what would you recommend as the best cure in this area?

A: It seems unlikely that diesel fuel, which evaporates in a few hours, would be adequate in the heat. When tested in accordance with ASTM C 156, “Water Retention by Concrete Curing Materials,” the concrete must lose no more than 0.055 grams of water per square centimeter of surface in a period of 72 hours, according to ASTM Standard Specification C 309, “Liquid Membrane Forming Compounds for Curing Concrete.” This test is carried out on a specimen covered with a standard amount of liquid membrane curing agent in a curing chamber at 100°F.

If diesel fuel evaporates in a matter of hours, it can’t possibly hold moisture for the time period specified by ASTM C 309. Although diesel fuel appears to function better at low temperatures than at high temperatures, there does not appear to be a clear technique to assess its performance in these conditions.

Concrete cures more slowly at low temperatures and hence requires more time to benefit from the curing medium, canceling out at least some of the benefit of slower diesel fuel evaporation at low temperatures.

If diesel fuel were a good and acceptable curing agent, it’s conceivable that someone would market it under a brand name.

If water or a cover, such as polyethylene or waterproof curing paper, are not available, the optimum curing option is usually a curing compound that meets ASTM C 309. If there is any doubt about its efficiency at extreme temperatures such as those seen in the desert during the summer, the curing component could be applied thicker.

How do I clean diesel off my driveway?

A scrub brush or long-handled push broom, a hose, and liquid dish soap are required to remove oil stains from a driveway. Using a squirt bottle, squirt the dish soap straight over the diesel stain, then add a few drops of water to help the soap spread. Scrub the oil stain with soap and water. This forms an emulsion, which lifts the oil from the asphalt. Using water from a hose, rinse the soap away. Repeat the cleaning process if grease streaks appear in the water. Warm water will aid in the removal of stubborn stains.

Will spilled diesel evaporate?

The most common type of diesel fuel is a light, refined petroleum product. Small diesel spills normally evaporate and dissipate in a day or less. Even in cold water, this is especially true for normal spills from a fishing vessel (500-5,000 liters).

What to do if there is a diesel spill?

Scrub the liquid products into the spill using a broom, rag, or other material. Clean the affected area with water (don’t worry, the diesel’s dangerous characteristics have been neutralized by this stage). Rep steps 3-5 until all of the diesel has been extracted.

Does diesel weaken concrete?

Q: Will concrete floors degrade if they are exposed to petroleum-based lubricating lubricants and transmission fluids?

A.: It’s been stated that pure mineral oils like gasoline, fuel oils, lubricating oils, and petroleum distillates don’t harm mature concrete (Refs. 1 and 2). However, according to a 1950 book (Ref. 3), adding fatty oils to lubricating oils improves their performance (animal and vegetable oils). These oils have the ability to breakdown into fatty acids, which dissolve concrete. We don’t know if modern lubricating oils contain fatty oils, but they certainly have additives that help refined-petroleum base stocks work better. We don’t have any data on the concrete impacts of such compounds.

Because of oxidation, it’s also known that used lubricating oils have increased levels of acidity. The references listed, however, do not discuss the consequences of used vs. virgin oils. It’s probable that used oils will destroy mature concrete due to their increased acidity. However, if that’s the case, expect to see a lot of deteriorated, oil-stained garage floors. Have any of our readers seen concrete deterioration in industrial floors that have been subjected to oil spills on a regular basis?

References

  • The Chemistry of Cement and Concrete, 3rd ed., Chemical Publishing Co. Inc., New York, 1971, p. 660. F.M. Lea, The Chemistry of Cement and Concrete, 3rd ed., Chemical Publishing Co. Inc., New York, 1971, p. 660.
  • Sandor Popovics, “Chemical Resistance of Portland Cement Mortar and Concrete,” Noyes Publications, Park Ridge, N.J., 1986, p. 336 in Corrosion and Chemical Resistant Masonry Materials Handbook.
  • Influences on Concrete, A. Kleinlogel, Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., New York, 1950, pp. 91-93.

Readers Respond

A reader wrote in to ask if exposure to petroleum products causes concrete floors to decay in the March 1997 Problem Clinic (pp. 314-315). I have some experience that might be able to help with a partial solution. I was hired as a concrete construction engineer to look into serious concrete deterioration of reinforced-concrete foundations, piers, and beams beneath a paper machine at a factory in British Columbia. The concrete was poured in the late 1920s and may have contained saltwater aggregates. Lubricating lubricants from machinery flowed over particular portions of the concrete over the years, causing deterioration that had advanced several inches into the concrete. The concrete was of good quality and exhibited no symptoms of deterioration away from the oil exposure, with core strengths of around 3000 psi.

As a result, we know that lubricating oils were the primary cause of concrete damage in this situation. It is hypothesized that lubricating lubricants from the past (and possibly the present) had sufficient sulfur, which changed to acid in the alkaline concrete over time. The concrete floor had significantly degraded in sections where diesel oil had been pouring continually for almost 20 years at another business I inspected, where diesel injectors were being remanufactured. The oil’s chemical onslaught caused the degeneration.

Is diesel fuel considered hazardous waste?

Gasoline has a low flash point (which makes it flammable) and hazardous components like benzene. It’s been recycled, and it’s being treated as a hazardous waste. Despite the fact that diesel fuel is not dangerous, it must be treated as a non-RCRA hazardous “Connecticut-Regulated” waste.

Does diesel evaporate quickly?

Petroleum fuel begins as crude oil, which is found naturally in the earth. When crude oil is refined, it can be divided into a variety of various fuels, including gasoline, jet fuel, kerosene, and, of course, diesel.

If you’ve ever compared diesel and gasoline, you’ll notice that they’re not the same. They definitely have a distinct aroma. Diesel fuel is thicker and oilier than gasoline. It takes significantly longer to evaporate than gasoline, and its boiling point is actually higher than that of water.