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Gasoline Spill On Your Driveway? What You Need To Do Afterwards

by Erik Evans

If you have a driveway that is constructed out of hard and solid asphalt materials, then you should know maintenance is required to ensure the longevity of your driveway.  Inspecting the driveway for cracks and scheduling timely sealing appointments are two things you should do.  You also need to clear away substances that can eat through the asphalt paving.  Gasoline is one of these materials and you can follow the tips below to deal with spills that have sat for a short period of time.

Why You Need to Clean Spills

If you spill gasoline on your asphalt driveway after filling a lawn mower or after you complete maintenance work on your vehicle, then it is in your best interest to clean up the spill as soon as possible.  Asphalt is a material that is made out of a hydrocarbon based tar material and a variety of aggregates like gravel and sand.  

Sometimes, paraffin wax, turpentine, and other types of materials are added to the asphalt mix.  These materials thin out the hydrocarbon base or they make it more pliable.  These substances can be dissolved by the gasoline that spills on your driveway and it can add to the thinning agents as well.  These weaken the ability of the hydrocarbon material to bind the rock and sand aggregates together.  The driveway can then be easily broken up with a small amount of pressure or stress.  Cleaning spills will help to prevent this type of damage from occurring.

Cleaning Up Short Term Spills

If you notice gasoline soon after a spill, then start cleaning right away.  The first thing you should do when dealing with a gas spill is soak up as much of the gasoline as possible.  You can spread a one inch thick layer of either cat litter or sand across the spill to soak it up.  

Allow the material to sit for about 15 minutes and then sweep the material up.  Dispose of the waste in a plastic container and contact your local hazardous waste disposal center, fire department, or recycling center to find out how to safely dispose of the material.  Do not throw it in the trash, because it is a fire hazard.

After you clear away excess gas material, purchase a container of trisodium phosphate.  Trisodium phosphate is a strong degreaser that can help to pull up gasoline, oil, and grease.  Wear some rubber gloves to protect your hands from the chemical, because it can burn and irritate the skin.  Then add about two gallons of water to a large bucket.  Pour in one cup of trisodium phosphate and use a scrub brush to work the mixture across the gasoline stain.  Scrub for about 10 minutes and rinse the area with warm water.  

Allow the asphalt to dry fully and look for the appearance of dark spots on the driveway.  A darkened area will indicate that gasoline is still present.  Scrub with the trisodium phosphate again or use dish soap to clean the area.

Protecting the Driveway

After you thoroughly clean the spill away, inspect your driveway every few weeks to make sure that the gasoline has not weakened the asphalt.  If cracks from, use a cold pour asphalt crack filler to fill them in.  Squeeze the black rubberized material into the crack and smooth it out with a squeeze tool.  Once all cracks are filled in, consider sealing the area of the driveway.  

This will create a tar barrier over the top of the weakened asphalt.  Purchase either a coal tar emulsion or an asphalt emulsion sealer.  Both of these materials are easy to work with and they are relatively inexpensive.  You will also need a long-handled squeegee tool.

Pour a small amount of the sealer on your driveway and use your squeegee to create a thin layer across the damaged area.  If you do not want to use the sealer yourself, consider contacting an asphalt professional to have your entire driveway sealed at one time.

If you spill gasoline on your driveway, then you need to make sure that you clean up the mess as soon as possible.  The tips above will help you with the clean up and assist you in repairing and protecting your driveway afterwards.