Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First report on fate of underwater dispersants in Deepwater Horizon oil spill

27.01.2011
Scientists are reporting that key chemical components of the 770,000 gallons of oil dispersants applied below the ocean surface in the Deepwater Horizon spill did mix with oil and gas spewing out of the damaged wellhead and remained in the deep ocean for two months or more without degrading.

However, it was not possible to determine if the first deep ocean use of oil dispersants worked as planned in breaking up and dissipating the oil. Their study, the first peer-reviewed research published on the fate of oil dispersants added to underwater ocean environments, appears in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Elizabeth Kujawinski and colleagues note ongoing concern about the environmental fate of the 1.4 million gallons of dispersant applied to the ocean surface and the 770,000 gallons of dispersant pumped to the mile-deep well head during the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Many studies show that dispersants added to surface oil spills prevent them from coating and harming sensitive coastal environments, but no large-scale applications of dispersants in deep water had been conducted until the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Thus, no data exists on the environmental fate of dispersants in deep water, the scientists say.

The scientists collected and analyzed seawater samples from the Gulf of Mexico for the presence of a key dispersant ingredient, called DOSS (dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate), during the active oil flow and again after the flow had ceased. They found DOSS became concentrated in the deepwater plumes of suspended oil and gas at depths of up to three-quarters of a mile and did not mix with the surface applications of dispersant. They also detected the dispersant ingredient at distances of nearly 200 miles from the well two months after deepwater dispersant applications ceased, indicating it was not rapidly biodegraded. Their data is not sufficient to resolve whether the dispersant was effective in dispersing the oil coming out of the wellhead. However, the scientists argue that the persistence of the dispersant over long distances and time periods justifies further study of the effects of chemical dispersant and oil mixture exposure.

The authors acknowledge funding from the National Science Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

ARTICLE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"Fate of Dispersants Associated with the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill"
Full Text available from: m_bernstein@acs.org
CONTACT:
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
News Media Office
508-289-3340

Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acs.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona

nachricht Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>