JeffCO H20:It’s Just a Drop!

oil-leaking-from-carYou notice a drop of oil on the driveway under your car.  Not a big deal, right?  Probably not a good reason to spend the time and  money to take the car into the service shop.  But then there is another drop tomorrow, and another the next day.  At the end of the week, it still doesn’t seem to be anything to worry about, just seven drops.  That is, until you factor in the other 600,000 vehicles registered in Jefferson County.  If just 10% of these cars drip one drop of oil per day, that winds up being more than 3 quarts of oil dripping on the ground every day, or more than 5 gallons by the end of the week.  That 5 gallons of oil can pollute 5 MILLION gallons of water if it is washed by rain into a creek or stream.  To put that into perspective, an Olympic sized pool contains just 660,000 gallons of water.  So yes, one drop does matter.  A first line of defense is to place a catch pan or oil absorbent pad under the car until you can get the leak fixed.  If oil or other fluid is on the driveway, use a dry material such as cat litter or oil absorbent granules which can be purchased at most big box and auto care centers to clean it up.  The dry material can be sprinkled on the spill, allowed to soak up the oil or fluid, swept up, and put into the trash.  Never hose down the driveway, since that can easily wash pollutants into a storm drain, ditch or gutter which in turn empties directly into a local creek or stream!


Lyn DiClemente
Jefferson County Department of Storm Water Management
B-210 Jefferson County Courthouse Annex
716 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. North
Birmingham, AL  35203