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Fuel spill on asphalt drive -- how to clean up

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Roger, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,937

    I spilled mixed fuel on a small area of my customer's aspalt driveway, and I need suggestions on how to cover, cleanup, or ??? The homeowner is a very good customer, and they are upset about seeing the discolored asphalt.

    To explain... I did a stupid thing a week ago when I spilled mixed fuel after refueling my Stihl FS85 string trimmer. I put the power head on the frame of the trailer, filled the tank, and then got distracted while putting the can away. I failed to put the cap on the tank. After the distraction passed, I picked up the trimmer, and started walking away. The fuel spilled from the tank, leaving an area about 5 feet long, 4-12 inches wide. The trailer was parked at the curb, so the spill starts at the curb and then runs onto the "outbound" end of their circular driveway.

    I feared the customer would be upset and when I returned today, my expectations were confirmed. The woman caught me early and wanted to know if I was responsible. I admited the problem and she said she tried to "take it up" by sprinkling something on it (kitty litter?). She wanted to know what caused the discolored pavement, and what could be done to get rid of the spot. I had no answer to her question.

    This issue will not go away, until it is resolved. The house is in an up-scale neighborhood ($600-$700K?), and very well managed. They just invested large money into new landscaping. The asphalt is about five or six years old, and never been sealed. Most houses in this neighborhood are concrete but a couple of them have alsphalt driveways and circular drives.

    Any suggestions? My worst fear is I will have to pay large $$$ to have sealer put down to cover the spot, plus the other several thousand square feet of driveway. Of course the spot is only a couple of square feet, but it is obvious.

    Any help?
  2. jt5019

    jt5019 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,432

    I had a similar spill on a driveway last year.I put Speedy Dry Absorbent on it right away and to this day you can still see where the spill happend.Kitty Litter pretty much works the same.Its already well soaked in by now so i dont know what you can really do.

    I would think with time it will go away if it wasnt much of a spill.Look at intersections where car accidents have happend the spill marks go away eventually.If shes not willing to wait i dont know what you can do im sure someone else will have some tips.

    Check home depot or lowes im pretty sure they carry driveway cleaner solutions thats are supposed to get up grease and stuff before you reseal a drivway..That might work.
  3. grass disaster

    grass disaster LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,748

    you could always mix some gas and put it in a spryer and spray the whole driveway.

    i don't think the spot will ever go away. probably the best thing you could do is get some floor dry and put it on there. leave it on there for a few days. it will blend in quite a bit.

    when it comes down to it, just ask her what she wants you to do with it. i'm sure she will understand.

    take a look at my signature haha
  4. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    I would talk them in to the benefits of sealing their driveway to protect it. If they do this, the sealer will subsequently cover up the spots. Do NOT mention anything about gas burning and eating asphalt...which it does.
  5. jasonnau

    jasonnau LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 454

    I have a different problem with treflan stains. In one of my postings, someone said that they had an oil stain on their driveway. They used carburetor cleaner, and it took it right up. Parts cleaner might do the same. I'm not an expert and I have never tried it, but, that stuff is used to degrease stuff. It might work. I'd try a little spot first. Also, a powerwasher might just do the trick as well.
  6. LawnBrother

    LawnBrother LawnSite Senior Member
    from SW Ohio
    Messages: 867

    scrub it well with dawn dish soap and water, or an industrial strength degreaser. That should get it out pretty well. Good luck.
  7. charlies

    charlies LawnSite Senior Member
    from earth
    Messages: 587

    don't you hate that?
  8. cclllc

    cclllc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    I know this is after the fact but I keep a jug of water with me at all times.If I make that mistake I water the heck out of the spot to delute the gas.Not that I do that alot but it has saved me in the past.Oh ,the water is for my radiator.
  9. drmiller100

    drmiller100 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 562

    get on the phone and find someone that sealcoats in the area. get a measurement for the drive, general location, and call and get some phone quotes. Like 7 of them.

    Do some research on the companies, and go check out their rigs. Get someone you would be proud to represent you. Do some research on the internet about what sealcoating is. Brochures would be good.

    Then go back to the customer, apologize, and offer a solution. XYZ company will sealcoat your drive for x dollars. I got these 6 other quotes.
    Tell them you will give 100 bucks or whatever towards the sealcoating, or mow their yard for Y weeks.

    Most of my customers would realize that you screwed up, and were trying HARD to find a solution. Sealcoating is really not that expensive, and actually is a very good thing anyway.
    With this approach, most of my customers would probably say "mow my yard for a week/month, don't let it happen again, and thank you for trying ot make it right.
  10. Mancinioldhorse

    Mancinioldhorse LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    It works pretty good on stuff like that. I know this is after the fact but I put down a scrap piece of 45 mil rubber pond liner...about a 3'x3' piece where I can pour fuel or herbicides or fertilizers and not have to worry about any accidents. plus I go to costco and buy the bundles of shop towels and carry em in the truck...just for situations like yours.

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