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Pure Appl. Chem., 1999, Vol. 71, No. 1, pp. 67-81

Effectiveness & Environmental Considerations for Countermeasures

Ann Hayward Walker1, Janet H. Kucklick2 and Jacqueline Michel3

1 Scientific and Environmental Associates, Inc., 325 Mason Avenue, Cape Charles, VA 23310; 757-331-1787; 757-331-1788 (FAX);
2 Scientific and Environmental Associates, Inc., 868 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Charleston, SC 29412
3 Research Planning, Inc., 1200 Park St., Columbia, SC 29201

Mechanical countermeasures for oil spill response have various effectiveness and operational limitations under certain spill situations. This has led to an interest in and use of alternative treatment methods. This chapter reviews the potential utility of one such group, non-dispersant chemical countermeasures, in controlling the adverse impacts from marine oil spills. The types of non-dispersant chemical countermeasures presented here include: herding agents, emulsion treating agents, solidifiers, elasticity modifiers, and shoreline cleaning agents. Each countermeasure group is discussed separately to provide a definition, mechanism of action, and effectiveness and environmental considerations for the group. Where ever possible, examples are given of countermeasure use during an actual spill. In addition to the groups mentioned above, a few other treating agents are briefly described under the section "Miscellaneous Agents" to illustrate other, less prominent types of chemical countermeasures.
Non-dispersant chemical countermeasures appear to have discrete response niches, i.e., situations where the countermeasures are well-suited and offer potential benefits. The key is matching conditions for optimal effectiveness with the appropriate incident-specific characteristics and window of opportunity. The practical aspects of logistics are not addressed because, if their potential utility can be demonstrated, the resolution of these issues would follow.