SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1984

Effectiveness of Oil Spill Dispersants at Low Salinities and Low Water Temperatures


The effect of ambient low salinity and low temperature in the Baltic Sea on the effectiveness of dispersants was investigated in the laboratory using a Mackay-Nadeau-Steelman apparatus. Three dispersants were tested on two oils (fresh and weathered crude) at different water temperatures (4, 12, and 15°C) and different salinities (3, 7, and 12‰). The results show a strong dependency on water temperature for all the dispersants tested, although one chemical was less sensitive than the others in this respect. The dispersants showed significant differences between their sensitivity to changes in salinity and in the relationships between effectiveness and dosage. The stability of the dispersion obtained seems to be influenced by both type of oil and water temperature, and some difference between the chemicals could be found also in this respect. The parameters studied strongly affected the performance of the dispersants. It is therefore essential to make a careful choice of dispersants for use in low salinity environments such as the Baltic Sea.

Author Information

Lehtinen, CM
Vesala, A-M
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Developed by Committee: F20
Pages: 108–121
DOI: 10.1520/STP30232S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-4906-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0400-6