How Oil Spills Effect the Environment


Oil spills occur every day across the world. These spills can range from small mishaps at a gas station to millions of gallons being spilled in an ocean. It is important to understand the impacts of these spills as they have major impacts on the environment so be sure to read the full blog to become more informed about the effects of these spills!


Oil spills over land can not only have very major negative effects on the environment and the ecosystems that they affect, but very negative impact on human life. When oil is spilled on land it can have very negative effects on agriculture as oil can inhibit water absorption into the ground. This could be very bad for farmers as it could ruin some or all of their crops or for ecosystems that rely on specific patterns of water flow when it rains.

Additionally, oil can flow into nearby streams, ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water so it is extremely important that oil, gasoline, and other types of releases are properly responded to and remediated as quickly as possible.


Oil spills that happen over the water tend to be the ones that people tend to hear about due to the severity of the size of these spills and the impacts on the environment. For example, many of you have probably heard of the large oil spill that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 which wreaked havoc on the environment for many months.

One of the main issues with oil spilling in a body of water is that oil is less dense than water and forms a film on top of the water. This can end up killing plants and animals that rely on sunlight as a food source. Additionally, when these plants and animals that rely on sunlight die, it also can lead to the death of the plants and animals that rely on them for food. From this, you can see the chain reaction that can begin quickly that can have devastating effects on the environment as a result of an oil spill.

Another issue with oil spills in water is that ducks and other animals which tend to sit on the surface and/or dive below to hunt their food can get sticky oil coated all over their feathers/ fur. When this oil sticks to these animals it can make it extremely difficult or impossible for them to fly which eventually can result in these animals’ death.

How To Prevent Spills

A great first step to prepare for a spill is to have a plan in place (such as a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan, or SPCC). Having procedures in place helps your company reduce the immediate impact of the spill, reduce potential safety hazards, save costs to clean up and remediate, and help the environment by potentially lessening the impacts of a spill or release. Another consideration is companywide training. Environmental professionals provide training for employees to properly respond to an incident. Training sessions allow your team members to be informed and prepared to act if an incident happens. It can make a huge difference!


Oil spills have bad effects on the environment whether they occur on land or in the water. This is why it is very important to have an accident plan in place! For more information on how you and/or your company can prepare, reach out to!

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