Oily Water Turned Soil Gray!!!

Hi everyone,
A few months ago, my car had a major oil leak ( Rear Main Seal ), and
when I started it up, oil basically POURED right out in A STREAM, and my
car went through one quart of oil in like 5 minutes. There was a HUGE
puddle of oil all over the driveway. I used kitty litter to try to soak
it all up. and then tried to wash it away with some "Dawn Dish Soap".
Anyway, now everytime it rains, the driveway gets puddles of that
"rainbow colored" oily water. When I try to wash it with the "Dawn Dish
Soap", the white foamy bubbles from the Dish Soap turn all Black. So the
bubbles all turn this foamy Black color, and the water underneath is all
rainbow colored.
So the other day, what I noticed after the snow melted on the grassy
area next to the driveway, was that there was an area about 3-4 feet
long, and about 1 foot wide, where the grass has turned all Black, and
the soil is now a GRAY color. The reason for this, is because the
asphalt driveway is very old, and not perfectly flat, and so the water
and melting snow runs down onto the grass and soil.
So does this mean that the soil is now contaminated with oil? Do I have
to dig out all the grey-colored soil, and reseed the whole area? If so,
how far down do I need to dig?
Instead of digging all the soil out, can I fix the soil, by just
topdressing the gray soil with some compost or organic topsoil, and then
Because its not like the motor oil was dumped or spilled directly on the
grass, but the oily residue in the driveway mixed in with rainwater and
melting snow, and turned the grass Black, and the soil a greasy/oily
grey color.
Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated!!!
Is there anyway to DRY OUT the oily residue in the driveway, so that
when it rains, the puddles won't have that oily, rainbow color? Will
scattering "rock salt" down on the area where the oil spill was, help to
dry it out? Because doesn't rock salt dry stuff out?
Reply to
I'd top soil it and let nature do her thing. She'll break down the chemicals if given time. Remember oil is organic and comes from rotted trees. Soil is good at breaking most chemicals down into something else, if given some time. On the blacktop, I'd take some soil and put it on there too, sweep it around, let it dry, wet it down and sweep it around a bit. I usually use dry soil to pick up fresh oil spills on my asphalt. Leave it on there for awhile if you can and move it around once in awhile.
Reply to
Bob Noble
Jim top-poasted:
Did you even try to take a shovel or dust-pan and scoop it up and toss it in the garbage?
Or did you do exactly as you said - which was to create a muddy mess of it and they try to wash the whole thing down the road? I don't have to tell you what a bone-head assinine thing that would be to do.
And Jim - what's your problem? Why are you so keen to have someone come up with an answer to someone else's problem?
Winter isin't even god-damn over and I can't believe all the people that are fixated on problems with their lawn.
Is the ground frozen where you are? Don't you think it might be a good idea to freeking tell us where in North America you are? Don't you think that us knowing what climate zone you're in might give us a clue as to how to come up with an answer for you?
What is the daytime outdoor temperature RIGHT NOW where you are?
Is the oily area exposed to direct sunlight?
High temperature and sunlight will breakdown the oil and make it evaporate. This usually happens in THE SUMMER. But since we don't know where you are, it's useless trying to help you do anything at this point. You could be in Florida or North Dakota - who knows?
Pour some gasoline on it (one or two cups worth), take a stiff plastic scrub-brush to it, follow quickly with detergent and lots of water to flush it down the road. Do that if it's really bugging your ass at this point. Nothing is as cheap and effective as gasoline at taking oil stains and residue out of pavement. But if it's cold out, it's gonna take more elbow grease.
Salt will pull water out of stuff and dry it - not oil. You put salt down and mix it with oil and you're going to have a real, ugly mess that will really screw up your soil.
Reply to
Lawn Guy
and why did you loan your PC to some pissed off asshole?
Reply to
In article , snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net (Jim) says...
She has her own little Exxon Oil Spill going. On pavement, the kitty litter was a good idea. The oil that soaked into the soil will continue to kill vegetation for a decade or two, until it finally remediates. She can dig it up and replace the topsoil if she wants.
Reply to
Larry Caldwell
Hi everyone,
Thanks for all the helpful responses so far, I really do appreciate it!! Someone asked me if I "SCRUBBED the dish soap into the oil spot". No, when I used the Dawn dish soap, I DIDN'T scrub it in. I just swept up all of the oil soaked kitty litter, and then put some Dawn dish soap over the oil spot, when it was raining.
Also, I DIDN'T "mash" the kitty litter in with my foot, as another poster suggested. I just poured the kitty litter over the puddle of oil, let it sit for a few hours, and then swept it up, and disposed of it in the trash. I will have to try "mashing it in with my foot" next time.
I am not sure if the kitty litter is what turned the soil Grey, because I used a bag of "Johnny Cat" kitty litter which is White in color.
But I will follow your suggestions and keep putting kitty litter there, and "mash it in with my foot", to try to dry the oil spot up, so that when it rains, there is no more "rainbow colored" water.
Hopefully I can just topdress the lawn with some compost or even organic topsoil, when the weather warms up ( its in the 40's in my area ), and reseed, and hopefully the grass will come back!?
Reply to

"Or did you do exactly as you said - which was to create a muddy mess of it and they try to wash the whole thing down the road? I don't have to tell you what a bone-head assinine thing that would be to do".
END ---------
First of all, no need to be rude, and second of all, HUH?????? I NEVER said ANYTHING about washing it down the road!!!!! My driveway is NOT on a hill. The driveway is about 125 feet long and it is flat. The leak happened on the opposite end of the driveway from the road where I park the car, which is about 100 or so plus feet from the road.
Also, what I said was that the driveway is flat, and paved asphalt, but is also old ( don't know WHEN it was paved last ), and the driveway has some cracks and bumps in it. So when it rains or the snow melts, the water were I park my car runs over to the grassy side of the driveway. The oil mixed in with the water, and turned the soil GRAY.
Next, this oil leak happened in December, when it was like 20 degrees outside, and so there was no way I could try to wash it away.
Okay, to answer your questions, I am in the Northeast, and yesterday it was 60 degrees outside. Today its in the 40's with drizzle, and this weekend its suppose to be back up into the high 40's and mid 50's. We have only had about 16 inches of snow for the entire winter, and our BIGGEST storm was a whopping 4 inches. Every other storm was a mere dusting, wet slushy snow, or less than 2 inches.
Yes, I have been using rock salt in the driveway, because when the snow melts off the house roof ( no gutters on driveway side of house ), and it drips down into the driveway, it freezes at night, and turns the driveway into a skating rink.
But yesterday was 60 outside. Today 40's and high 40's and mid 50's for the next week.
NO, the ground is NOT frozen, as it is in the mid 30's at night.
Reply to
Hey Bob,
Thanks for the info. about putting some soil on the oil spot to help dry it out!! Will "Play Sand" work as well?? Because if so, I have a small bag of "Play Sand" leftover, that I could use on the oil spot.
Please let me know?
Reply to
That's kind of what I thought too. Only I didn't think he lent his computer to anyone. :)
I especially liked the opening part:
Did you even try to take a shovel or dust-pan and scoop it up and toss it in the garbage?
You think he'd at least read the post before making an ass of himself.
Reply to
Before doing anything, I'd wait and see if the existing grass is really dead. It's dormant now and maybe it just got some oil residue and dirt on it. It may start growing in Spring just fine. If not, then I'd remove a few inches of the topsoil and apply replacement.
Regarding the oil spill, you did everything I would have done. At this point, the easiest thing to do with the driveway is nothing. The small remaining residue will diminish over time, especially with increasing temp and sun. In a few months the rainbow effect will be gone. If you want to try to fix it immediately, there are products meant to clean oil stains off of asphalt. Look for them in the section of Home Depot or similar where they sell sealcoat products for driveways. How much more effective that is than liquid soap, I can't tell you. You could also put down a thick slurry of your liquid soap and just leave it there for a few days, instead of washing it right off. That may give it more time to penetrate and work on the oil.
Reply to
Thanks for the great info, I really do appreciate it!!! Like I asked the another poster "Bob", do you think "Play Sand" would help dry out the oil spot in the driveway?? Because I have about half-a-bag of "Play Sand" left over from the winter??
Reply to
When I said "I tried to wash it away", I DIDN'T mean that I took the garden hose in 20' degree December weather, and washed it into the street and down a storm drain to pollute the towns water!!!!
After I swept up all of the oil soaked "Johnny Cat" kitty litter, and disposed of it in a Black trash bag, and threw it in the garbage can, I put some "DAWN" dishsoap over the oil spot when it was raining, hoping to get rid of it.
I used the "Dawn", because "Dawn" has those commercials saying that "Dawn Dishsoap" is used to clean oil off wildlife animals when there is an oil spill somewhere. So I figured that the "Dawn" would help get rid of the oil spot, but unfortunately its still there.
And because the asphalt driveway is old, there is a rut, where I park my car, and when it rains the rut fills up with oil and rainbow water, and starts going over towards the grassy side of the driveway turning the grass Black, and the soil Grey.
Reply to
Cat litter is by far the common material of choice. But that is to soak up initial spills. You could try, but I doubt it would be of any value in getting the small remaining amount of oil that resides within the surface of the asphalt. That small amount gets lifted out by rain and appears as the sheen you see. Kind of like the drops of oil that are still coming up at Pearl Harbor from the remains of the Arizona. Hopefully your driveway won't go on that long.
Reply to
MICHELLE H. wrote the following:
Sand is not absorbent. You need to get some 'Speedy Dry', or equivalent. Available at your local auto parts store like Autozone, Advance, etc. It is made to soak up garage floor spills.
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