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CHEMICAL OIL SPILL DISPERSANTS: UPDATE STATE-OF-THE- ART ON MECHANISM OF ACTION AND LABORATORY TESTING FOR PERFORMANCE
Clayton, Jr, J. R., J. R. Payne, S. Tsang, V. Frank, P. Marsden, AND J. Harrington. CHEMICAL OIL SPILL DISPERSANTS: UPDATE STATE-OF-THE- ART ON MECHANISM OF ACTION AND LABORATORY TESTING FOR PERFORMANCE. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/S-92/065, 1992.
Chemical dispersants are formulations designed to facilitate dispersion of an oil slick into small droplets that disperse to non-problematic concentrations in an underlying water column. This project had two primary objectives: (1) update information on mechanisms of action of dispersants and factors affecting their performance and (2) evaluate selected testing procedures in the laboratory for estimating performance of different dispersant agents. The first objective resulted in a report updating information on chemical dispersants, their mode of action, variables affecting dispersant performance in the field as well as the laboratory, and a discussion of a number of laboratory and rapid-screen field tests for estimating performance, information derived in the course of preparing this report was used to select three laboratory testing procedures for evaluation of performance characteristics: the Revised Standard EPA test, the Swirling Flask test, and the IFP-Dilution test, in the laboratory, these three procedures were evaluated for their precision of results in estimating dispersant performance, costs associated with conducting a given procedure, and the ease of conducting that procedure (e.g., number of tests performed in 8 hr, skill level required of an operator, and overall complexity of the procedure). The precision of results for dispersion performance for all procedures was approximately the same (standard deviation of 7% to 9% in dispersion performance values). Costs to perform a procedure and ease of conducting that procedure favored the Swirling Flask test.