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Old 15-09-2006, 23:08   #1
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Managing an oily bilge.

I have just discovered why my recently purchased boat had quite a bit of oil in the bilge. The engine had a small (3mm) hole in the supply chanel for the water pump">raw water pump. It just pumped out some of the oil from my expensive engine service with a rather charming gurgling sound.
Aside from the hole in my wallet I now need to deal with a whole lot of oil in the bilge.
I tried bilge cleaner but it made no noticable impact other than increasing the size of the hole in my wallet.
I came across the suggestion to use "Tide" which appears to be some kind of liquid laundry detergent.
Has anyone tried this? Are there better methods? Am I really stuck with carting all my bilge water to the local waste transfer station?
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Old 15-09-2006, 23:46   #2
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Go to the Dollar Store and buy a few quart bottles of a cleaner called "Awesum". This is a concentrated citrus based biodegradeable cleaner which will desolve oil, and paint for that matter. It costs 99 cents a bottle, and it works.

Rick in Florida
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Old 15-09-2006, 23:54   #3
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If you ask your wharfinger or the folk at the marine fuel dock they will steer you to a source for "oil soaker cloths". These will soak up the oil and leave behind the water. (I have heard that disposable diapers will do the same thing but have never tried that. ) I know from experience that they work like a hot darn on hydralic oil. I don't know of any really good product for getting rid of oil stain though.
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Old 16-09-2006, 01:14   #4
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The diapers do work. I use them all the time under the engine to catch any drips, and have used them to clean up oil in general. West Marine also sells some expensive-ish oil absorbent material in the engine aisle. It's wrapped in a plastic mesh and can be thrown down into the bilge. it absorbs the oil, but not the water. I've used that as well.
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Old 16-09-2006, 05:56   #5
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The diapers will absorb every liquid in the bilge. The oil absorbing materials at West or an auto supply store takes only the oil, leaving the water to be pumped.

Don't panic when they turn black. Its not that the oil is dirty, rather that is just what they do. Fire departments use them as an indicator to see if spills are hydrocarbons. If they stay white, its not, if black, it is.

I suspect an auto supply store will have the same thing as West at a lower cost. West sells the 3M brand which is good stuff, but others may work just as well.

After you get the excess oil out, then go with the solvents or soaps to clean the residue.

I don't know about NSW but in the US pumping oil in the water, even if emulsified with soap is a real NO NO.

George
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Old 16-09-2006, 07:32   #6
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We had a similar problem with our boat at one point. We used a small portable bilge pump to pump the bilge into 5 gallon buckets that were lined with oil absorbing cloth. Once the bilge was all but empty, on the recommendation of a local boatyard owner, we obtained several (10 I think) gallon jugs of inexpensive Lemon juice conccentrate from a local food wholesaler and dumped that into the bilge with some hot water and a little liquid dish soap. We gave the whole bilge a scrub with that and then let it sit and "agitate" with the motion of the boat for a few days. The Lemon juice seems to break down the oil sludge pretty quickly and we were able to just pump the bilge water off-board. A final rinse with hot fresh water left everything quite clean and fresh smelling.

Good luck with your efforts.

/s/ s/v HyLyte
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Old 16-09-2006, 08:52   #7
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(See if you can find someone with a Port Supply account at West Marine if you go through them... pretty decent price cut on the absorbant cloth with that.)
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Old 16-09-2006, 11:07   #8
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IF you were in the state of California, each and every fuel station is required to have oil absorbant pads available for FREE to any boater who requests them. They are also required to accept oil soaked rags (pads etc.) and other oily items FREE of charge for disposal. MOST harbors have an oil reclaimation hut to which you can bring your used oil, oil filters etc. to for disposal - also for free.
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Old 16-09-2006, 15:31   #9
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The point about receptacles and places to put waste oil is a good one. Where do people do it? I find it's getting harder and harder to find a filling station that will accept my waste oil, since so many people bring their cars to the quick lube places and don't have waste oil at home anymore.

I went to one filling station that had a sign out for oil changes when I was in Rhode Island. I had $30 in my pocket cash, to fill up my car. I asked if I could give him my gallon of waste oil. He got very angry at me and told me that they can't take it because it messses up their waste fuel. When I pointed out that since he does oil changes, he must have a waste oil container, he really lost it.

So I let me know I'd be filling up my car's tank at a station that would accept my waste oil. I never found one in a couple mile drive!

I did find a marina that would let me though.

Waste oil is getting to be a problem to deal with. There should be a recovery system set up by the OIL COMPANIES who sold me the product in the first place. Why isn't there one?
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Old 16-09-2006, 15:45   #10
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because it costs money, and the law doesn't say they have to.

And thats the name of THAT tune! (with apologies to Barretta).
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Old 16-09-2006, 17:05   #11
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For waste oil straight out of the crank case... local auto parts houses accept it.

Part of the incentive for you to shop with them.

(Nobody has complained about my anti-freeze,powersteering,engine,ATF cocktail that ends up in my catch pan...)
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Old 24-09-2006, 04:42   #12
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Sean,
I always used those quick oil change places to dispose of my used marine engine oil. Just kept it in sealed containers until the next time I had to change the oil in the car, then gave them to the attendant as a pre-requisite for giving them my business. Never had one refuse or try to charge me to take the oil, but if I did I would have taken my business elswhere.

Of course if you don't have a car (as I now do not), this may not be an option.

John
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Old 24-09-2006, 23:44   #13
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Chris, To get back to the subject

and since you have a steel boat I would suggest 143 solvent as a cleaner. And then a standard de-greaser. The 143 solvent will wash off with hot water and better with a de-greaser without hurting the paint, if any.

First you'll need to fix your leak, of course. Then using the industrial absorbant pads (soaks up no water), get as much oil as possible. Then pumping from the bottom of the bilge extract out all the water that is clean. If you pump into a barrel you can soak up any oil from there.

Get in where you can with a brush using the solvent then wash down with water. Soak up again with the pads. That will get most of the solvent and oil. Continue the process over and over until you're content. Then wash down with the de-greaser and pump also into the barrel, and soak with the pads.

If you have a problem accessing and area, put some solvent into a pump up pressure sprayer like for lawn care chemicals. The pressurised solvent works good in corners and hard to get spots. You will not need a resperator if you keep the boat well vented but would recommend nitrial gloves. You can use the same sprayer for the de-greaser.

The water can be pumped thru a filter/strainer and should be clean enough to dump back in the ocean.

As for the pads, they can be taken into the outback and burned. That's what the recyclers do with them, but in the cities it's in a pollution controlled ovens.

Get you're pads from an oil/fuel distribtor by the bundle they'll be a lot cheaper then an auto or marine supplier. They have them on hand by the car load.

Hope that's within your budgit...................................._/)
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Old 25-09-2006, 02:54   #14
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This is what I am doing....

I brought a 20 litre beer fermenter from my local brew ingredients supplier.
The oily bilge water is pumped from the bilge using a small hand diaphram pump (the regular bilge pump karked it) and poured into the fermenter.
The next day it has separated and the water can be taken out using the tap at the bottom. The top oil is put into 2 or 3 litre containers.
My local waste transfer station will accept engine oil for no charge so every so often I need to make a trip.
I am cleaning up the rest using a cheap ($99) water blaster (complies with local water restrictions!) to get the soaked on oil off the engine and the engine surrounds.
Slowly, but slowly, I am getting on top of it.
It was probably only 10 - 20 litres of oil but boy did it make a mess!
Thanks to everyone for their help.
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Old 25-09-2006, 12:50   #15
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Yeah yeah, but does it affect the tast of the beer??? ;-)
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