can soil recover from an oil spill?



  1. 0 Votes

    Oil is a pollutant that can seriously compromise the health of soil. When soil becomes contaminated with oil, it is usually rendered less useful to human beings, and can even be dangerous

    Loss of Oxygen

  2. According to a report by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, oil contamination reduces oxygen levels in soil. This can result in the death of native plants, and depending upon the size of the spill, can damage entire ecosystems.
  3. Loss of Fertility

  4. Oil contamination also reduces the fertility of arable land, according to the United Nations. This can result in a loss of crops for farming communities.
  5. Pollution of Groundwater

  6. Groundwater is water that is just below the surface of the soil. When soil becomes contaminated with oil, so does groundwater. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, this can be serious if the groundwater is consumed by human beings or animals.
  7. Longevity of Effects

  8. Depending on soil conditions, the effects of an oil spill can last for years. According to Temple University professor Michael C. Boufadel, many of the gravel beaches in Alaska have yet to fully recover from the Exxon Valdez oil spill that occurred more than 20 years ago.
  9. Possible Uses

  10. Soil that is heavily polluted with oil is considered to be solid waste, but it still has possible uses. For instance, oil-contaminated soil is sometimes used in construction as an ingredient in the manufacture of asphalt and brick.
  • 0 Votes

    On human time scales, all the points in the other answer are valid and important. On geological time scales – or even shorter ones, like hundreds and thousands of years – soils, wetlands, everything recovers from issues like oil spills, volcanic eruptions, ice ages.

  • 0 Votes

    It especially depends on the size of the spill. If we’re talking a quarter-cup of oil dripped out because of a messy oil change, that will biodegrade within a few years. If we’re talking thousands upon thousands of gallons like from the Exxon-Valdez, then it will take many more years to recover.

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