Alternative Response Technologies
Physical removal of all spilled oil from the environment, while a preferred option, is often not possible because the dynamic nature of the environment in which the oil is spilled may not allow time for effective physical removal. The capabilities and limitations of mechanical equipment are described in a pamphlet from the Region I and II Regional Response Teams. Non-mechanical response technologies use techniques other than booms, skimmers, vacuum trucks, and other such devices to remove oil from the surface of the water. Rapid removal techniques may have negative effects, so decisions to utilize them must balance the impact of the response method with the impacts prevented through their use. The OSC will balance impacts to minimize the overall consequences of the pollution incident.
Dispersants are specially designed surfactant/solvent mixtures that reduce the surface tension of the oil and break it up into small droplets that disperse within approximately the upper 10 meters of the water column. An increase in surface area and a corresponding increase in natural degradation, combined with dilution, reduce the impacts of dispersed oil.
In Situ Burning
In situ burning is the combustion of oil in place, typically requiring fire resistant containment booms to maintain sufficient oil thickness when employed on the open water.
Other Alternative Response Technologies
Last Updated: 01/08/2007