We Value Your Privacy

We and our partners use technology such as cookies on our site to personalise content and ads, provide social media features, and analyse our traffic. Click below to consent to the use of this technology across the web. You can change your mind and change your consent choices at anytime by returning to this site.

Update Consent
Loading ...

Effects of Oil Spills on Land

Updated March 16, 2017

An oil spill could have potentially disastrous effects on land. The damage is hard to measure and contain, since it can effect complex ecosystems and spread if introduced to underground water. If the spill is severe it may take the land years to recover, during which time it is toxic to most plants and animals.

Loading ...

Soil Degredation

The presence of oil could render otherwise fertile land unfit for plant life as it reduces the soil's ability to hold oxygen. Since oxygen is a key element of plant growth and photosynthesis, existing vegetation is prone to suffocation. New plant growth may prove to be difficult, depending on the severity of the contamination. The oil also saturates the ground and acts as a barrier, preventing water from being absorbed, further inhibiting plants from being nourished.

Groundwater Concerns

As the oil is being absorbed into the earth, it runs the risk of contaminating underground streams. Since groundwater may flow across a large area, the oil has the potential to spread across a wide geographic region beyond the confines of the original site of the spill. Oil may even come into contact with and contaminate human water supplies.

Organisms and Animals

Oil is toxic to many micro-organisms, bacteria and animals that live on and within the land. As it seeps into the ground and comes into contact with minerals, organisms and bacteria it could destroy or compromise these entities. An oil spill has the potential to destroy entire ecosystems, leaving the surrounding wildlife displaced.

Loading ...

About the Author

Based in New York, Thi Tran has been a professional writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared in "Business Strategies" magazine, "Reason" magazine and a number of trade publications. She is also a copywriter as well as sales and marketing expert. She holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Monroe Community College.

Loading ...