Oil Spill Clean Up in fermanagh

Project Details (Oil spill clean up in Fermanagh)

A large oil spill clean up in Co Fermanagh was recently undertaken by Gaea Environmental –  Oil Spill Experts.
This site was at a large private residence near Enniskillen and this event represents one of the largest oil spill clean ups in Fermanagh in recent years.
Large, sudden spillage of home heating oil from a below ground oil supply pipe.
Saturated upper soils over the source zone, but he majority of the spilled oil descended into a thick layer of gravel and sand below the family home that was deposited following the last ice age.
The porous layer described above was acting as a superficial aquifer containing considerable groundwater.
High value home with manicured gardens and a large amount of hard landscaping.
1000L of home heating oil was lost.
The home had very significant issues with ingressing hydrocarbon vapours that required emergency works to provide relief from the fumes and enable the family to remain in their home.
Initial groundworks were turned around in 10 days.
No further costs were incurred than agreed
A detailed site investigation involving the installation of monitoring wells and boreholes was undertaken within 24 hours of instruction.
The treatment phase was executed in six weeks.
Final reinstatement took 3 days.
Project won by competitive tender where Gaea were less than half the cost of our next competitor.

Oil Spill Clean up in Fermanagh – The Challenge 




A major insurer contacted Gaea to report a large oil spill clean up in Fermanagh from a below ground oil supply pipe. The tank in question had been filled to maximum capacity and soon after the oil supply pipe failed and the entire 1000L was lost in a 24 hour period. 

The homeowner discovered the leak when overpowering oil odours took over the ground floor of their family home. Obviously distressed, the homeowner contacted their insurers out of hours number. Insurers where then able to reach their dedicated loss adjusters who chose to appoint Gaea. Despite being out of hours Gaea travelled to Enniskillen that night and began to get the situation assessed and under control.

The property was located over a deposit of glacial outwash that we knew was present from our early desktop investigation. This was confirmed by the performance of a detailed site investigation where a 3D profile of the site is developed by characterizing the various strata below surface and examining each for the concentrations of contaminants.

The plume was found to have migrate right below the family home from one side to the other. The home heating oil was not present in the first 2 meters below ground level, so excavation was not going to be an option and obviously demolishing the family home so that the plume could be reached was not desirable.

Oil Spill clean up in Fermanagh – The Solution


Following instruction Gaea attended and carried out a detailed site investigation on this oil spill clean up in Fermanagh consisting of a drilled borehole survey with on-site soil vapor screening by way of photo-ionization.  The soil vapor survey allowed us to rapidly assess where on the sites the highest concentrations of soil vapors were located, by deduction we can then assess the probability of the presence of oil at each location.  However, we knew that we didn’t have the entire picture so recommended that a window sampling investigation be undertaken also.  This step is critical as it allows us to visually examine the soils themselves and catalog their physical properties. It also allows us to establish the depths the contaminants have migrated to.

Kerosene plume migrating below a family home and the  migration of vapours

Once on-site, our team removed the tarmac and concrete directly above the point where the oil supply pipe failed and then excavated this area to 2mbgl. This allowed us to readily access the point of impact.

A second set of excavations were made at the opposite side of the family home. As most of this material was completely clean it was stockpiled in windrows on site whilst the contaminated material at the very bottom was removed and disposed of. A series of engineered recovery sumps were installed, connected with perforated pipes and surrounded by pea gravels and geotechnical membrane. The system was tested using biodegradable dye that was dosed at the point of spill. The test was successful and a few hours later the dye appeared in our recovery boreholes after travelling below the family home. The clean material that had been stockpiled was used to backfill the trenches.


Oil spill in Fermanagh

An electric compressor and control unit. The control unit has its own IP address so we can control the system from anywhere.

Oil Spill in Fermanagh

The inside of our control unit showing the solenoid actuators and electrical control systems.


An automated treatment system was brought to site. This allowed Gaea to monitor and control what was going on at the property at all times rather than just during site visits. The system could be controlled remotely from anywhere in the world.

The application of surfactants, wetting agents & chemical oxidation reagents to the aquifer took place over a six week period. Recovered water was treated using a Dual Phase remedial system that included and oil water seperator and activated carbon vessel.

Oil Spill Clean up in Fermanagh- The Outcome

Following the treatment phase on this oil spill clean up in Fermanagh, investigations were conducted to locate any on-going risks.  These were addressed as described above and 14 soil & water samples selected from across the property.  The samples were sent for independent analysis at independent UKAS accredited laboratories.  Once a satisfactory set of analytical results were obtained the properties proceeded to the reinstatement phase.

Gaea’s in house reinstatement teams then attend the properties and began to professionally bring the sites back to at least the pre-spill standard.

Oil spill clean up in Fermanagh

Image of out treatment system set up to automatically draw groundwater from recovery wells then treat the water.


A few improvements were made at the request of the homeowner to improve upon what was there before.

All the works were carried out within the agreed time frame and costs that had been agreed with the homeowner’s insurer. The client was very happy with our pragmatic, no nonsense, customer focused and efficient approach.  Particularly the fact that we were half the price of the closest rival, despite proposing the same scope.

Less than three week turn around.

A £60k saving compared to our closest rival, £110k saving compared to third tenderer.