Discovery Guides Areas


Deep Sea Oil Spill Cleanup Techniques: Applicability, Trade-offs and Advantages
(Released August 2010)

  by Pam Graham  


Key Citations




Resources News Articles
Historical Newspapers

News Articles

  1. The Corrosive Legacy of Oil Spills

    Gillis, Justin; Kaufman, Leslie; The New York Times; 07-18-2010

    On the rocky beaches of Alaska, scientists plunged shovels and picks into the ground and dug 6,775 holes, repeatedly striking oil -- still pungent and dangerous a dozen years after the Exxon Valdez infamously spilled its cargo.

    More than an ocean away, on the Breton coast of France, scientists surveying the damage after another huge oil spill found that disturbances in the food chain persisted for more than a decade.

    And on the southern gulf coast in Mexico, an American researcher peering into a mangrove swamp spotted lingering damage 30 years after that shore was struck by an enormous spill.

    These far-flung shorelines hit by oil in the past offer clues to what people living along the Gulf Coast can expect now that the great oil calamity of 2010 may be nearing an end. . . .

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's eLibrary

  2. Exxon Valdez cleanup holds lessons for Gulf oil spill

    Yereth Rosen Yereth Rosen, The Christian Science Monitor, 05-13-2010

    Oil from the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989 may take centuries to disappear, says Exxon. How long will the Gulf oil spill linger?

    Two decades after the Exxon Valdez supertanker ran aground and ripped open its cargo tanks, the spill still marks Alaska's environment. Pockets of fresh crude are buried in beaches scattered around Prince William Sound and segments outside it, in isolated spots along more than 1,200 miles of coastline that received oil in 1989.

    The discovery confounded earlier predictions that remnant crude would quickly weather and disperse as waves washed it into the sea. . . .

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's eLibrary

  3. Storms stall oil skimmers; Weather systems large and small whip up wind, seas with forecast calling for more

    Associated Press, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 07-06-2010

    PASS CHRISTIAN, MISS. - Across a wide stretch of the Gulf of Mexico, the cleanup of the region's worst-ever oil spill has been essentially landlocked for more than a week, leaving skimmers stuck close to shore.

    Last week, the faraway Hurricane Alex idled the skimming fleet off Alabama, Florida and Mississippi with choppy seas and stiff winds. Now they're stymied by a succession of smaller storms that could last well into this week. "We're just lying in wait to see if we can send some people out there to do some skimming," said Courtnee Ferguson, a spokeswoman for the Joint Information Command in Mobile, Ala.

    Officials have plans for the worst-case scenario: a hurricane barreling up the gulf toward the spill site. But the less-dramatic weather conditions have been met with a more makeshift response. . . .

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's eLibrary

Historical Newspapers
  1. OIL SPILLAGE IS PROTESTED; Resort Group Demands Strict Enforcement Of Law

    The Sun. Baltimore, Md.: Jun 26, 1947. pg. 10

    Original Newspaper Image (PDF)

  2. New Committee To Fight Oil Spillage on Sound

    The Hartford Courant. Hartford, Conn.: Nov 18, 1961. pg. 9

    Abstract (Summary) Oil and water don't mix, especially when fowl and shellfish are concerned and Connecticut oilmen and conservationists are trying to do something about it.

    Original Newspaper Image (PDF)

  3. Tough New Controls On Water Pollution Given House Approval; Bill Would Apply Heavy Penalties For Oil Rid, Ship Violations; Senate action Is Likely Soon

    Wall Street Journal. New York, N.Y.: Apr 17, 1969. pg. 4

    Abstract (Summary) WASHINGTON With only a single dissenting vote, the House passed a bill that would impose tough controls on water pollution from oil rigs, ships and other sources.

    Original Newspaper Image (PDF)

Taken from ProQuest's Historical Newspapers.


  1. Novel magnetic extractants for removal of pollutants from water

    by Trad, Tarek Mohsen, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University, 2006 , 135 pages

    Abstract (Summary)
    Scope and method of study. This research aims at developing magnetic extractants that can be utilized in conjunction with magnetic filtration devices to efficiently and economically remove a number of pollutants from aqueous solutions and mixtures. Two types of magnetic materials were synthesized, characterized, and used in a variety of environmental applications. The first was based on activated carbon, where raw materials used for the development of high surface area activated carbon were modified to produce novel magnetically-active activated carbons (MAC's). The unique properties and adsorption capacity of these materials allowed their application in the extraction of hydrocarbons from water and in breaking oil in water emulsions. In the second phase of the project, nano-composites of organic-capped magnetite and nickel ferrite were successfully obtained by non-hydrolytic thermal treatment of organometallic precursors. The nanoparticles were characterized using a variety of techniques including transmission electron microscopy, infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and thermogravimetric analysis. Finally, an investigation on the ability of the nanoparticulate extractants for the removal of 4,6-dinitro-o-cresol pesticide and arsenate from water was conducted.

    Findings and conclusions. Magnetic activated carbons prepared from industrial and household byproducts were effective for the removal of decane, 4,6-dinitro-o-cresol, arsenate, and a number of dyes from aqueous media. Additionally, MAC's were capable of breaking oil in water emulsions. Carboxylate capped magnetic nanoparticles were easily synthesized, and exhibited unique properties such as structural uniformity, small size, and high surface area. These nanoparticles showed remarkable results in the removal of 4,6-dinitro-o-cresol pesticide and arsenate from water. Moreover, magnetic activity exhibited by these extractants allowed for quick separation using magnetic filters.

    Potential applications include rapid cleanup of oil spills, treatment of waste waters, separation of lipids from serum samples for medical analysis and as an alternative to liquid/liquid extraction in chemical and drug manufacturing.

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's Dissertations & Theses Database

  2. The sound and the fury: Common sense about the Exxon Valdez

    by Gordon, Philip Sherman, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003 , 320 pages

    Abstract (Summary)
    This is a cultural study of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. It addresses the questions of how the oil spill was shaped by the context of forces that produced it, and how it, in turn, reshaped that context. The study uses historical, critical, and interpretive methods to contextualize the spill and trace its discursive construction across a number of sites of knowledge production. The study finds that the discourses of news, law, and politics produced knowledge of the spill deeply implicated in the operations of social power around it. Mass and legally mediated representations of the spill tended to discourage critical insight into its root causes, and to divert critical attention to red herrings such as human error, alcohol, and oil spill cleanup operations.

    The dissertation is also about the problem of studying an environmental issue from a cultural studies perspective. To date, the engagements between cultural studies and environmental studies has been fraught with tensions. These tensions have been most manifest in cultural studies' preoccupation with deconstructing claims to nature and its tendency to emphasize human politics at the expense of eco-politics.

    Using articulation theory, it moves beyond the quagmire of the great wilderness debate, and charts a middle ground between, on the one hand, the overly optimistic and non-deterministic celebration of "wild nature" as an unproblematic solution to complex social and ecological problems, and, on the other hand, the overly pessimistic and deterministic critique of "wild nature" as guaranteed ideology, an always already coopted term which indirectly supports the very things it ostensibly resists. This study looks at how those articulations were forged in the context of the struggle against oil pollution in Alaska, and attempts to evaluate their effects, maintaining critical understandings of nature and wilderness without rejecting those terms out of hand, or out of the context of the specific social and ecological struggles in which they were deployed.

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's Dissertations & Theses Database

  3. Evaluating integration of bioremediation into contingency planning and policy for oil spills in the marine environment: A decision analysis

    by Dietz, Allan Stemple, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, 1996 , 481 pages

    Abstract (Summary)
    Petroleum is a predominant commodity and energy resource in modern society. A catastrophic oil spill overwhelms both emergency response resources and the environment's natural ability to recover. This dissertation considers integration of bioremediation into the response and mitigation efforts pursuant to a catastrophic oil spill in the marine environment. Non-proprietary biological response options (the Enriched Ballast Water (EBW) and the Surface Fertilization (FERT) response options), based upon plentiful and readily available oil-degrading microbial populations and materials, were developed from information found in the scientific literature.

    Experts with credentials in oceanography, microbiology, and/or microbial ecology were questioned to validate the response models and to obtain subjective probabilities on the effectiveness of the proposed treatment strategies when applied to a hypothetical one-million liter oil spill. All experts had previously published peer-reviewed scientific papers on petroleum biodegradation or metabolism. Vendors of bioremediation products were asked to assess the probabilities of outcomes following treatment of the same hypothetical oil spill in order to evaluate the potential for using products currently listed on the National Contingency Plan (NCP) Product Schedule. The assessments were used to evaluate the decision to bioremediate oil spills with NCP-listed products and to further develop the decision framework.

    A decision analysis framework was used to evaluate policies regarding the use of bioremediation to mitigate oil spills, and to develop, evaluate, and recommend tactical response strategies for oil spill cleanup. The framework was used to design a prototype expert system, BioRemediation Advisor (BRAD), which provides guidance in choosing a bioremediation strategy and in the use of EBW/FERT in response to an oil spill in the marine environment.

    This dissertation adds to the dialog on bioremediation and to the growing body of information and tools for use in environmental management. Current US policies were validated by this study, because of the relatively high level of uncertainty about costs, effectiveness, and outcomes. This research provides additional general guidance for future data-gathering for bioremediation response plans and for the actual implementation of a bioremediation response to an oil spill crisis. The dissertation offers specific policy proposals for the use of bioremediation as an integrated part of oil spill response and mitigation.

  4. For full-text documents see ProQuest's Dissertations & Theses Database