The Basics of Oil Spill Cleanup  book cover
3rd Edition

The Basics of Oil Spill Cleanup

ISBN 9781439862469
Published December 5, 2012 by CRC Press
286 Pages 184 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Reflecting the rapid progress in cleanup technology since the previous edition, this revised and expanded third edition of The Basics of Oil Spill Cleanup covers current cleanup techniques, how oil spills are measured and detected, and the properties of the oil and its long-term fate in the environment. It also deals with why, how often, and where oil spills occur as well as the chemical composition and physical properties of various oil types.

The chapters describe surface and remote sensing technologies used to detect and track oil slicks, and methods to contain oil on water (booms and ancillary equipment) and recover oil from the water surface (skimmers, sorbents, and manual recovery). The author discusses the use of pumps, in-situ burning, and chemical agents, such as dispersants, for oil removal. He also addresses oil-contaminated shorelines and the effects and behavior of oil on different ecosystems and the various organisms within them. Written for the general public as well as those directly involved with oil spill cleanup, this edition provides broad, up-to-date knowledge of the cleanup and control of spills.

Table of Contents

Oil Spills: Why Do They Happen and How Often?
How Often Do Spills Occur?
Some Oil Spill Facts

Response to Oil Spills
Oil Spill Contingency Plans
Communication Systems
Oil Spill Cooperatives
Private and Government Response Organizations
Cost Recovery

Types of Oil and Their Properties
The Composition of Oil
Properties of Oil
Correlation between Properties

Behavior of Oil in the Environment
The Importance of Behavior and Fate
An Overview of Weathering
Movement of Oil and Oil Spill Modeling

Analysis, Detection, and Remote Sensing of Oil Spills
The Importance of Analytical and Detection Technologies
Sampling and Laboratory Analysis
Field Analysis
Detection and Surveillance
Remote Sensing

Containment on Water
Types of Booms and Their Construction
Uses of Booms
Boom Failures
Tow Forces
Ancillary Equipment
Sorbent Booms and Barriers
Special Purpose Booms

Oil Recovery on Water
Manual Recovery

Separation, Pumping, Decontamination, and Disposal
Temporary Storage

Spill-Treating Agents
Surface-Washing Agents
Emulsion Breakers and Inhibitors
Recovery Enhancers
Sinking Agents
Biodegradation Agents

In-Situ Burning
Ignition and What Will Burn
Burn Efficiency and Rates
Use of Containment
Emissions from Burning Oil

Shoreline Cleanup and Restoration
Behavior of Oil on Shorelines
Environmental Effects of Oil on Shorelines
Types of Shorelines and Their Sensitivity to Oil
Shoreline Countermeasures Assessment Technique
Shoreline Protection Measures
Cleanup Methods

Oil Spills on Land
Behavior of Oil on Land
Movement of Oil on Land Surface
Movement of Oil in the Subsurface
Habitats and Ecosystems
Cleanup of Surface Spills
Cleanup of Subsurface Spills

Effects of Oil Spills on the Environment
Biological Effects
Aquatic Environments
Damage Assessment
Net Environmental Benefits


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Merv Fingas, M.Sc., MBA, Ph.D., has worked for more than 38 years in the field of oil spill technology. He was chief of Environment Canada’s Environmental Emergencies Technology Centre in Ottawa for over 30 years. He has conducted research in spill dynamics and behavior, and studies of spill treating agents, in-situ burning of oil, and oil spill chemistry and analysis. Dr. Fingas has authored or coauthored more than 800 technical reports and papers on various aspects of oil or chemical research. These include topics such as oil emulsion formation, oil evaporation, treating agent testing and use, studies of oil analysis and fingerprinting, in-situ burning of oil, oil spill remote sensing, and personal protection equipment. This is his seventh book.


"The Basics of Oil Spill Cleanup is a classical reference in the field. This third edition has been revised and expanded reflecting the rapid progress in clean-up technology and the techniques available for mitigating the effects of oil spills."
—International Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry, December 2014

"This book is a welcomed update of the second edition ... The book provides an excellent introduction for newcomers to the field of oil spills. The book is well-written for the broad audience for which it is intended and would be very useful as a required or recommended textbook for introductory oil spill courses."
—Dr. Carl E. Brown, Environment Canada

"A well written book in which the subject matter is addressed in a comprehensive way and well organized for easy reference. ... The text is complemented by excellent photographs, diagrams and tables. Most importantly, the new edition is fully up-to-date, reflecting the latest developments in our knowledge of oil spill clean-up and the techniques available for mitigating the effects of oil spills."
—John McMurtrie, Secretary, International Spill Control Organization

Praise for Previous Editions

"… presents a practical perspective and overview in dealing with on-and off-shore oil spills that can potentially affect sensitive coastal environments and habitats … Certainly when oil spills occur, notably in a highly visible, sensitive and/or media concentrated area, such a book provides a good synopses as to the methods employed when dealing with such circumstances."
—Stephen M. Testa, Testa Environmental Corporation