- Peat Sorb is an environmentally friendly oil absorbent product from Western Canada.
- The pillows and socks are filled with Peat Sorb that can be used to contain oil spills and seepage.
- Peat Sorb is a modified peat product with a moisture content of 7% – 10%. When dried to this level it repels water and absorbs oil on contact.
- Peat Sorb is equally effective on land and water.
- Peat Sorb is non-leaching. A hydrocarbon absorbed into Peat Sorb is retained until it degrades.
- Peat Sorb is a humic mass that is already biodegraded; it will not break down further if disposed of in a landfill site.
- Peat Sorb is lightweight for easy handling and transportation.
- Peat Sorb is non-abrasive. It can be used around machinery without fear of damage to metal, plastic or rubber parts.
- Peat Sorb pads and rolls retain more oil than the leading polypropylene.
- Peat Sorb can be applied manually or mechanically.
- Peat Sorb will pick up a full range of petroleum products from crude oil to gasoline and has been used to solidify and absorb resins, PCB’s, coal tars, fatty acids and hydrocarbon based inks.
- Pound for pound Peat Sorb is about eight times as effective as clay based “kitty litter” type sorbents.
- Peat Sorb products will not attract insects or rodents.
- Peat Sorb has been tested in independent laboratories and meets the requirement of the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure, the Paint Filter Test and the Liquid Release Test.
- Peat Sorb is an effective vapour suppressant.
- Peat Sorb can be buried or burned in most jurisdictions subject to restrictions that may apply if it has been used to clean up hazardous waste.
- Peat Sorb products provide a comprehensive approach to meeting long standing environmental responsibilities and new legal requirements.
- Peat Sorb products are used daily around the world in ships, factories, transportation facilities, ports, refineries, garages, boats and golf courses; the products are available from local stocking distributors.
PROPERTIES OF PEAT SORB
- Absorbs on Contact
- Effective on Land & Water
- Vapour Suppressive
- Easily Disposed of
- Cost Effective
Peat Sorb products are made from 100% Canadian sphagnum peat moss. Canada has more than 250 million acres of peat lands covering over 12 percent of the country.
Peat is partly decomposed plant matter that forms in waterlogged environments such as bogs and swamps from the gradual accumulation of mosses, grasses, shrubs and trees. Coal and oil form from peat following burial and compaction by mineral sediments over millions of years.
Canadian peat is plentiful and can be harvested without major damage of the peatlands.
Unlike some European countries where the peatlands have been ravaged over time, peat harvesting and production in Canada is strictly regulated from the ecological perspective. The peatlands are viewed as a natural resource with great commercial potential, but one that must be exploited in a responsible fashion. Peat Sorb is an environmentally friendly product in all stages from production through to use and disposal.
Licenses to harvest peat in Alberta are granted only following a full environmental impact assessment. Peat Sorb originates in a 9,000 acre bog in Alberta, Canada, where the peat has a depth of from 3 to 15 feet. Harvesting takes place from May to September, weather permitting.
The current harvesting area is approximately 400 acres and has an expected bog life of 10 to 15 years. After the bog has been fully harvested it is turned over for agricultural purposes.
The portion to be harvested is first cleared and drained and then harrowed and raked. The loosened peat is then vacuumed up. Raw peat is stored at the plant ready for processing.
Peat Sorb Granular Form:
The raw peat is first put through a shredder to break large pieces to a consistent size.
The product is then screened to take out wood sticks and other debris. It then passes through a proprietary drying process that reduces the moisture content to approximately 7% – 10% (peat moss from the field has a moisture content of 55% – 60%).
Unlike other peat based products Peat Sorb is the passed through a de-dusting and dryer bin. The fine peat dust is separated from the coarse peat leaving a cleaner product from the user’s point of view. The coarse product is then conveyed to compressing and bagging machines. Peat Sorb is shipped in the form of double compressed bales wrapped in pre-printed recycled plastic wrap, or in loose filled heat-sealed plastic bags.
The range of physical and chemical properties of peat has led to many applications for it. It has long been used in agriculture and horticulture and its properties as a fuel have been appreciated for centuries. As a result of its cellular structure, sorbent properties and high capacity for ionic exchange peat has been used as a natural filter to purify residential and industrial effluents and to absorb liquids and odours.
Peat, in its dehydrated form as Peat Sorb, has additional properties: As a result of its dry cellular structure Peat Sorb has a wicking or sponging action that allows it to completely soak up hydrocarbons where water was once stored. The oil or other hydrocarbon is enclosed within the cells of the Peat Sorb and will not leach out. This appears to be the result of the very large surface area within the modified peat. In this respect Peat Sorb is not unlike activated carbon.
Since it repels water Peat Sorb will float while absorbing water-borne contaminants. Peat Sorb will pick up a full range of petroleum products from crude oil to gasoline and has been used to solidify and absorb resins, PCB’s, coal tars, fatty acids and hydrocarbon based inks.
With respect to oil or petrol spills on water Peat Sorb’s ability to float is of great benefit. Depending upon prevailing conditions Peat Sorb will float for considerable amount of time (about two days) before taking on water and sinking.
During this time it will soak up water-borne oil on contact. All oil is absorbent and retained within the Peat Sorb where it can do no further harm to the environment, even if it should sink before recovery workers can remove it from the water. Since it is a nonbiodegradable, totally natural product, Peat Sorb whether it contains oil or not can be left in the subject environment being cleaned up without fear of further damage.
When Peat Sorb was first developed, the manufacturer, in an attempt to describe the naturalness of the product, inadvertently described it as “biodegradable” This is in fact incorrect, as Peat Sorb is processed from material that has already biodegraded. After processing the resulting product is principally humic fibre that will only break down after a very long period of time, often over hundreds of years depending upon local conditions.
However, the hydrocarbons locked into the Peat Sorb will biodegrade. Naturally occurring micro-organisms and the humic acid in the Peat Sorb contribute to the breakdown of the oil products. Petroleum products are complex mixtures that may contain hundreds of different hydrocarbon compounds. Each constituent will affect the behaviour of the product both before and after absorption. In the final analysis, however, all hydrocarbons are organic carbon compounds containing only carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. Almost all petroleum hydrocarbons will be degraded to carbon dioxide and water by microbial process within Peat Sorb within a relatively short time.
The speed with which petroleum products biodegrade is affected by many factors, including oxygen levels, moisture, temperature, acidity, nutrient content and the size and type of natural microbes present. Significant degradation of petroleum hydrocarbons in soil has been documented in time periods of less than three months.
Depending upon the nature of the petroleum product more typical time periods for degradation are in the range of six to eighteen months. The hydrocarbons trapped inside Peat Sorb will degrade to carbon dioxide and water long before the Peat Sorb degrades.
Oil, retained and biodegrading inside non-leaching Peat Sorb, is a better alternative to free floating oil which can continue to damage fish, plants and wildlife.
Peat Sorb is lightweight for easy handling and transportation. Peat Sorb is eight to 15 times more effective than clay, depending on the viscosity of the hydrocarbon being absorbed.
One 30 lb bag of Peat Sorb will absorb 30 gallons of oil. One 40 lb bag of clay will absorb approximately 3.3 gallons of oil. To clean up the same 30 gallon spill, you would need at least 350 lbs. of clay.
THE PEAT SORB ADVANTAGE
Peat Sorb has the advantage of being non-abrasive. For abrasive wear to happen to machinery it must come into contact with another substance of equal or greater hardness. Peat Sorb, with a hardness factor of about 1 will not damage steel which has a hardness factor of 5. Clay, a commonly used inorganic sorbent, has a hardness factor exceeding 6 and will damage metal parts and cause rapid deterioration of soft rubber and plastic parts Peat Sorb can be used around all types of machinery without fear of damaging expensive equipment.
Most petroleum products are extremely volatile. Effective spill response involves rapid limitation of the exposure pathways to prevent skin contact, inhalation or ingestion. The vapour suppressive and static resistant qualities of Peat Sorb, in its granular form, are significant safety features for spill response crews. Results of an independent test of the vapour suppression qualities of Peat Sorb are described under the heading of “Laboratory Tests” kept on file.
Workers’ health and safety is the top priority when cleaning up spills.
Peat Sorb and peat-based sorbents generally, have been subjected to a variety of laboratory tests. Most of these tests have been conducted in order to determine compliance with regulatory requirements, particularly in the United States.
Generally the various regulatory authorities in the United States require three performance tests to determine whether a sorbent is suitable for landfill disposal. These are the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP), the Liquid Release Test and the Paint Filter Test. Peat Sorb has been subjected to these tests and has been found to satisfy their requirements.
In May 1990, Peat Sorb in its granular form was analyzed by Zenon Environmental Inc. for leachate quality. Their opinion was that the product meets the requirements of the Ministry of the Environment for the Province of Ontario, Canada and that the sample submitted appeared to be safe for disposal in a landfill site. All results of the testing’s are available upon request.
In March 1991, Analytical Services, Inc. analyzed Peat Sorb containing gasoline and oil pursuant to the TCLP in effect at that time. The results of both the gasoline test and the oil test indicate that most of the substances tested for were below detection limits and with the exception of benzene on the gasoline test all were below regulatory limits.
In tests performed in January 1992 and reported the following month, National Environmental Technology Applications Corporation (NETAC) examined Peat Sorb’s ability to absorb cutting oil and to characterize the cutting oil-absorbent mixture as to suitability for landfill disposal. These tests were conducted according to United States EPA approved methods and instrumentation in all analytical work. The tests indicate a holding capacity of cutting oil absorbed to absorbent of 3.78 to 1 based on weight. The analyses of the samples of the cutting oil-Peat Sorb mixtures tested show that Peat Sorb had absorbed cutting oil passed the TCLP tests with none of the listed compounds being detected.
Peat Sorb meets the requirements of the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP), the Paint Filter Test and the Liquid Release Test.
The producer using a modified soil mechanics consolidated testing machine has evaluated release of oil from Peat Sorb. Peat Sorb was mixed with varying proportions of soya oil and subjected to a pressure of 50 psi. The test show that at a ratio of 1 1/4 parts of oil to 1 part Peat Sorb no oil was released. At ratios greater than 1 1/4 to 1 part some oil was released under 50 psi pressure. The tests show Peat Sorb will absorb approximately seven times its own weight of oil but under pressure will release some of that oil.
An independent test of Peat Sorb’s vapour suppression capabilities and the effects of foam on Peat Sorb was carried out by the Fire Department of a city in the state of Kansas, USA. The tests show that Peat Sorb is an effective product in the suppression of flammable vapours. Extracts of the report on this test are also available upon request.
Independent laboratory tests show that Peat Sorb is non-leaching, non-toxic and suitable for landfill disposal provided that the substance absorbed is non-toxic due to current legislation on disposal regulations.
The sorbent properties of peat products have been extensively tested by the Emergencies Engineering Division of Environment Canada. A modified peat sample, similar to Peat Sorb, was laboratory tested on six hydrocarbons and water. For each gram of modified peat sorbent used the hydrocarbon capacities were 8.38 grams of crude oil, 6.76 grams of weathered oil, and 5.51 grams of Bunker C on contact. Initial water pickup was minimal-but modified peat will take on water over longer time periods.
The Peat Sorb pads were tested in a controlled laboratory experiment to discover its absorption and retention capacity. Polypropylene pads were tested under the exact same conditions. The pads were saturated with transmission oil. The pads were then exposed to three different pressures. Under 2.0 psi, the equivalent of picking up the pad, the Peat Sorb pad held onto 91% of the oil absorbed. The polypropylene pad released almost 50% of the oil it had absorbed.
Laboratory and practical tests show Peat Sorb to be an effective sorbent for a wide variety of liquids. Further laboratory tests are ongoing and the results will be reported as received.