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March/April 2008

New Standard to Aid in Buoyancy Determination; Proposed Guide Covers In-Situ Marsh Burning

All interested parties are invited to participate in the standards developing activities of ASTM International Committee F20 on Hazardous Substances and Oil Spill Response. Among the committee’s recent activities are the approval of a new standard on oil spill containment booms and the continuing development of a proposed standard on the use of in-situ burning of oil spills in marshes.

burn of condensate crude oil

Mosquito Bay, La., burn of condensate crude oil on April 12, 2001, seven days post spill.

Manufacturers of containment booms, as well as testers and certifying agencies, will be the main users of F 2682, Guide for Determining the Buoyancy to Weight Ratio of Oil Spill Containment Boom, a new standard developed by Subcommittee F20.11 on Control.

“The buoyancy to weight ratio is an important characteristic of a spill containment boom,” says Stephen Potter, F20 member and senior engineer and partner, S.L. Ross Environmental Research, Ottawa, Canada. “Field tests and practical experience have shown that increased buoyancy to weight ratio leads to better boom performance in many conditions.” Potter notes that both U.S. Coast Guard regulations and ASTM standard F 1523, Guide for Selection of Booms in Accordance with Water Body Classifications, specify a minimum buoyancy to weight ratio when selecting a boom for particular applications. However, until the approval of F 2682, there has not been a standard method for measuring buoyancy to weight ratio, nor has there been agreement on the factors that should and should not be included in a buoyancy measurement or calculation.

In addition to the recent publication of F 2682, Committee F20 has been developing a proposed new standard, WK17360, Guide for In-Situ Burning of Oil Spills in Marshes. According to Mervin Fingas, F20 member and research scientist, if applied properly, in-situ burning can be the best way to deal with oil spills in marshes. WK17360, which is being developed by Subcommittee F20.15 on In-Situ Burning, will give government agencies in charge of oil spill monitoring, oil companies and cleanup agencies instructions in how to properly use in-situ burning in marshes. While this type of information can be found, Fingas notes that there is no currently existing standard that covers in-situ burning for use in marshland.


Technical Information: (F 2682) Stephen Potter, S.L. Ross Environmental Research, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Phone: 613/232-1564

(WK17360) Mervin Fingas, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Phone: 780/989-6059

ASTM Staff: Jeffrey Adkins

Phone: 610/832-9738