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Dispersant effectiveness tests are reviewed. Studies have been conducted of the variances among several standard regulatory tests. Three main causes of differences have been identified, oil-to-water ratio, settling time and energy. Energy can be partially compensated for in high energy tests by correcting for natural dispersion. With this correction and with high oil-to-water ratios and a settling time of at least 10 minutes, five apparatuses yield very similar results for a variety of oils and dispersants. Recent studies into the energy variation of dispersant tests show that the energy level varies in many apparatuses. The repeatability of energy levels in apparatus is largely responsible for the variation in dispersant effectiveness values in certain apparatus. Studies of analytical procedures show that traditional extraction and analysis methods cause a bias to results. Methods to overcome these difficulties are presented.
oil spills, dispersants, dispersing agents, dispersant effectiveness, dispersant tests
Environmental Technology Centre, Environment Canada, Ottawa, Ontario