What is a boom? This key spill containment tool is essentially a temporary liquid barrier. Some booms look like long, stuffed tubes while others have flat, vertical panels that act as walls. They can be used on land or water and, like other spill containment materials, come in different varieties to suit different types of spills. Booms can contain or absorb spills, guide them in specific directions, or even keep spills out of specific areas.
Absorbent versus non-absorbent booms
One key difference between the many types of booms is whether they are absorbent. Absorbent booms, such as this oil absorbent option, can be used to clean up spills as well as contain them. Non-absorbent booms, such as this oil containment boom, act only as barriers to contain or redirect fluids.
Non-absorbent booms might be used to create dams while absorbent booms could be used to skim oil from the surface of a body of water in the event of a spill. And of course, different types of booms absorb different liquids. A hazardous material spill will require a hazmat absorbent boom while an oil spill will require an oil absorbent boom, which repels and floats on water. In general, the type of boom you’ll need will depend on what sort of spill you’re addressing.
Close-up view: absorbent booms
Absorbent booms are divided into types based on the different kinds of fluids they’re made to soak up.
- Oil absorbent booms — These booms are white in color, making it easy to see when they’ve been saturated with oil. They repel water, so they’ll float even when fully saturated. Each boom ends with a carbon steel connector, so users can easily link them to cover as much distance as necessary.
- Chemical hazmat booms — These yellow booms are designed for use on land to contain and absorb hazardous chemical spills. They can handle most acids and aggressive fluids as well as oils and hydrocarbons, making them suitable even for unknown spills. Users can quickly link them together to create the desired length
Close-up view: non-absorbent booms
When the goal is to contain spills rather than absorb them, non-absorbent booms are the solution. The different types of non-absorbent booms are each suited to different uses and situations.
- EconoMax — These affordable, lightweight containment booms are effective at blocking oil and debris in calm waters. Closed-cell foam flotation keeps these booms suspended in water, and a generous skirting barrier prevents pollutants from passing underneath.
- Super Swamp — These easy-to-transport booms are perfect for shallow water uses and can be easily washed and reused for many years thanks to sturdy construction. These booms are available in 25-, 50-, and 100-foot lengths to suit any application.
- Simplex — Simplex non-absorbent booms are perfect for use against oil in marinas, harbors, and lakes. They’re lightweight, making them easy to move to allow boats through. These booms are UV-resistant and durable, making them suitable for years of consistent use.
- Optimax I and II — If you’re dealing with oil in fast currents, the Optimax I and II are great choices. Both booms feature closed-cell foam buoyancy, vinyl-coated skirting, and a top tension cable, so they’re suited for long-term deployments.
Not sure which type of boom to choose for your applications? You don’t have to make the decision alone. Work with a partner who knows absorbents inside and out to get the exact booms you need.
Contact our sales team at email@example.com or (800) 869-9633 to learn more about the different types of booms.