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Questions And Answers On How To Clean Up Oil Spills

1193 words - 5 pages

Oil Spills
1. a. What are some chemical methods that are used to clean up an oil spill?
There are many different chemical methods used to clean up oil spills. Dispersants are used to break down the oil and speed up its natural decomposition. There are three different types of dispersants. The first type is a hydrocarbon based solvent. These dispersants are sprayed onto the affected area to dilute the oil contamination. The second type of dispersants are made of alcohol or glycol solvent. These dispersants are also used to dilute the amount of oil in the sea water. Type one and type two have to be thoroughly mixed with the oil after it has been applied to ensure best outcome. The last ...view middle of the document...

These products both have advantages and disadvantages.

2. a. What are some physical methods that can be used to clean up oil spills?
Physical methods aid in the removal of oil and help diminish contamination on the shorelines. One way to clean up contaminated areas is to wipe with absorbent materials. Materials that are able to absorb oil are used to clean up contaminated shorelines. These materials are often made as large squares or designed as mops. These materials are designed to wipe shorelines and be filled with as much oil as possible. Another physical method to remove oil is to pressure wash. Pressure washing is used to effectively remove the oil from shorelines using different levels of pressure. When pressure washing, hot or cold water may be used. Low pressure washing is used when the oil is still fresh and is easy to remove. The longer that the oil had sat and weathered, the higher and hotter the pressure has to be. While pressure washing, the oil is sent down plastic trenches, absorbed and properly disposed. A lot of vegetation grows in oil infected areas. Pressure washing may be used on vegetation but it is best if low pressure is used. The higher the pressure, the more likely it is that the plant will be damaged or destroyed. These are both physical methods that reduce oil damage to ecosystems and animals.

b. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this method?
There are advantages when wiping with absorbent materials. Absorbent materials can be used on any shoreline as long as it is accessible for humans. Absorbent materials are not harmful to animals and nothing is left behind after the oil has been cleaned up. Many absorbent materials are reusable and environmentally friendly. There are also some disadvantages when wiping with absorbent materials. Many people are needed to clean the contaminated shoreline. Workers must also wear appropriate workwear and it has to be disposed of properly. The workers may also disrupt the ecosystem and environment if it is not usually human inhabited. Pressure washing is a very cost effective way to clean up oil. Pressure washing is a great way to flush oil out of an affected area. On the downside, pressure washing requires many people. It can also be harmful to organisms if it is not properly used. All in all, the advantages of these methods outway the disadvantages.

3. a. What is a biological method that can be used to clean up oil spills? (Hint: organisms are used)

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