The Importance of Cleaning a Diesel Spill

Diesel has become a commonly used fuel in many industries. Diesel engines move many of today’s vehicles such as trains and boats that transport majority of the products we consume, power farm and construction equipment that perform heavy lifting and digging, and power generators to generate electricity. As we mentioned on our last blog, even when safety measures are followed, accidental diesel spills may still occur, and it is very important to clean it up right away. When diesel is left on the ground, it can create fire, traffic hazards, and pollution threats.

Fire Hazard

According to OSHA, diesel is not flammable, but due to its high flash point it is combustible, making it a fire hazard. The difference between a flammable and combustible liquid is its flash point (the lowest temperature at which the vapor above a liquid can be ignited if given an ignition source). The flash point for diesel varies between 126°F – 205°F, which is higher than other petroleum products. Diesel can still, however, pose a serious fire hazard if it is not contained, especially if exposed to a fire.

Traffic Hazard

Spills can also create traffic hazards by making roads slippery, especially on a rainy day. Just like oil and water, diesel and water do not mix, instead they separate. Diesel is already slippery as is, but when it is mixed with water, the weight of the water causes it to sink to the bottom. Not only can an unattended spill create traffic problems for vehicles, but it can also present a risk of injury to any pedestrian in the area.


Diesel is a petroleum product, and like all products, is toxic. It can be harmful to animals and humans who inhale too much of the fumes. Even short-term exposure can result in dizziness, headache, and eye, nose and throat irritation. If diesel reaches water through a storm sewage, it can kill aquatic life, so it is extremely important to stop a spill from going down a drain.

A Fuel Solution You Can Trust

You can count on Pacific States Petroleum to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective solutions for all your petroleum needs. We are committed to providing the highest level of service throughout all of California, even after regular business hours. Give us a call at (800) 679-1700 or send us an email and we will keep you safely fueled 24/7.