27.Oil.Spill.Fate.11 - Oil Spill Fate Introduction Crude...

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Unformatted text preview: Oil Spill Fate Introduction Crude Oil Spills in the Marine Environment Toxic Fractions and Actions Oil Spill Remediation Policy The 2010 BP Gulf Well Blowout Conclusions The Prestige West of Spain in 2002 Sources of Marine Oil Pollution Oil Naturally “Weathers” Toxic Effects to Fisheries and Wildlife Surface Surface coating – gill fouling, hypothermia, negative buoyancy negative Larger wildlife Direct toxic actions – absorption, ingestion and Direct inhalation result in narcosis, tumors, acute death, etc. etc. Relative Sensitivities of Petroleum Initial Decision-Making Considerations Do Do nothing – if a spill is far off shore and not threatening valuable resources, let it degrade naturally naturally Do something – if a spill is close to shore and Do directly threatening valuable resources, it should be treated be The cost/benefit ratio factors into the decision The factors There There are at least five ways in which spills may be treated be Remediation Techniques Recovery Recovery – removal via the use of booms, collecting agents (e.g. straw), and mechanical skimmers skimmers Burning – combustion only works well on fresh oil Sinking – use of agents that cause oil to sink to the bottom of the sea the Dispersal – use of detergents (dispersants) to disperse oil into the water column and off the surface surface Bioremediation – Use of bacteria to degrade the oil oil Booms and Skimmers to Remove Oil Burning and the Use of Microbes Dispersant Use is Often Considered Considerations in Remediation Efficacy – How effective will the technique be with the specific oil and sea state conditions of a particular event? particular Toxicity – How will a selected technique impact local biological resources? local The Gulf Spill – Why Disperse? Deepwater Horizon – a floating platform The Well Blows Out – April 20 The Oil Posed a Threat to Shorelines Some 184 million gal. were released Initially – Burning and Skimmers were Employed Considerations in Dispersal Dispersants Dispersants would prevent slicks from forming prevent Dispersed oil would remain offshore, continually Dispersed break into smaller droplets and degrade break or “An Audacious Decision in Crisis Gets Cautious Praise” Science, August 18, 2010 Dispersed Oil Becomes a Mid-Water “Cloud” NOAA Budget, August 2010 Déjà Vu: IXTOC I, 1979 – 80 History Repeats… Conclusions Oil in the marine environment has many sources sources Oil degrades over time by the processes of “weathering” “weathering” Oil causes direct toxic effects and coating Oil problems problems Oil needs treating if it poses a threat to resources resources The Gulf spill quickly engulfed most treatment The methods methods Cost/benefit considerations factored into its Cost/benefit dispersal dispersal ...
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