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Oil Spill Clean Up

Oil spills are devastating in terms of the ecological damage they can cause. When oil spills occur close to shorelines, they can be particularly damaging, as areas near land are often abundant with waterfowl, invertebrates, sea otters, seals, fish, coral, and plant life. When marine life is killed or contaminated by oil spills, it can also cause serious economic problems for the fishing, shipping, and tourism industries. Oil spill clean up efforts are largely focused on preserving the local ecosystem where the accident occurred.

Oil spill cleanups require a large effort


Containment methods can include use of booms with long curtains that are set up around the spill to keep it all in one area.


Skimming techniques involve the use of devices used to collect oil from the surface of the water and transfer it to containment units on ships.


Oil spill sorbents are made of sponge-like materials that soaks up oil from the water.

In Situ Burning

If spills are far away from coastal communities, clean up crew will set oil slicks on fire so it burns off. However, this method generates toxic smoke that is released into the air.


Dispersants are chemicals that are added to water affected by oil spills. The chemicals break down the oil at a much faster rate than normal. However, adding chemicals to water can also pose a health threat to marine life.

Biological Agents

Biological agents refer to fertilizers such as phosphorus and nitrogen that are added to the water and along shorelines to stimulate the growth of microorganisms.

Clean Up Efforts for Marine Life

Clean up crew and environmental agencies can set up balloons and dummies near smaller oil spill sites to scare off waterfowl and sea mammals; however, these efforts only minimize death and injury to marine life. In many cases, rescue agencies try to find as many injured birds and animals as possible, and then use techniques to remove oil from their feathers and fur.

Contact an Attorney

If your life has been affected by an oil spill contact a lawyer as soon as possible. You may be eligible for restitution, including lost wages and property damage.

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