SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1984

Ecological Considerations for the Use of Dispersants in Oil Spill Response


A multidisciplinary task force with membership from government agencies, academia, and industry is developing ecologically based guidelines for dispersant use in marine and estuarine environments. The guidelines are organized by habitat type (e.g., coral reefs, rocky shores, bird habitats) and consider dispersant use to protect the habitats from impact, to mitigate impacts, and to clean the habitats after a spill. Each guideline contains a description of the habitat type covered, recommendations for dispersant use, and a background section reviewing the relevant literature. The goal is to minimize the ecological impacts of oil spills. Aesthetic, socioeconomic, and political factors are not considered, although it is recognized that these are important concerns during spill response. Use of dispersants is considered along with other appropriate countermeasures and compared with the “no cleanup” alternative.

Author Information

Lindstedt-Siva, J
Albers, PH
Fucik, KW
Maynard, NG
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Developed by Committee: F20
Pages: 363–377
DOI: 10.1520/STP30246S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-4906-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0400-6