Oil-particle interactions and submergence from crude oil spills in marine and freshwater environments: review of the science and future research needs

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Oil-particle interactions and oil submergence are of much interest to oil spill responders and scientists, especially as transportation of light and heavy crude oils increases in North America’s coastal marine and freshwater environments. This report contains an up-to-date review of the state of the science for oil-particle aggregates (OPAs), in terms of their formation and stability which may alter the transport, fate, and toxicity of the residual oil and, hence, its level of ecological risk. Operational considerations—detection, containment, and recovery—are discussed.

Although much is known about oil-particle interactions in coastal marine environments, there remains a need for additional science on methods to detect and quantify the presence of OPAs and to understand their effects on containment and recovery of oil spilled under various temperature regimes and in different aquatic habitats including freshwater environments.

Document Type: 

  • Report


  • critical issues, database publication, oil and gas, waste management, water, environment, united states