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Removing Oil Spills from Water: A daunting Task

We all know that water and oil simply just do not mix and that once a spill happens separating the two is very complicated. When liquid petroleum is released into the environment by vehicle, vessel, pipeline, or breach, it usually happens on a large scale and is mostly seen in water bodies. Oil spills that involve polluting water need to be addressed immediately. Current methods tell us in order to do it right, various factors need to be considered before carrying out operations and that there are four basic ways to clean or contain an oil spill. Before the start a determination must be made as to the most appropriate method because it depends upon many factors, including the type of oil spilled, the temperature of the water affecting evaporation and biodegradation, location of the spill, potential hazards, weather conditions etc. The common methods are to contain the spill using booms, and collect the oil from the surface of the water using skimmers. Use dispersants to break down the oil: Chemical dispersants can be used to break down the oil and speed up its natural biodegradation. Dispersants break the slick into droplets of oil, which makes it easier for the oil and water to mix, and for the slick to be absorbed. Add biological agents to the spill: Oil that has washed up along a shoreline can be broken down through a process called biodegradation. Lastly in some cases let the oil break down naturally: If there is no possibility that the oil will pollute coastal regions or marine life, the oil could be left to disperse naturally. The sun, wind, currents and waves can disperse and evaporate most oils, though light oils can disperse quicker than heavy oils.

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