Sunken oil (oil that has sunken to the bottom of a water body) is a pollutant of concern in marine environments because it is difficult to detect and remediate. The traditional detection method of dragging polypropylene bundles of fronds (i.e., snare) attached to chain along the bottom and visually inspecting it for oil, has not been validated. This report describes the results of experimental research on detection of sunken oil by snare. Students tested new snare configurations attached to chain, and alternative oleophilic materials (i.e., plastic bags, mosquito netting) to determine a more effective method to maximize contact with sunken oil present in the environment. Looping snare around the chain, rather than attaching it in one location, maximized contact with oil. The performance of plastic bags suggests they may be an appropriate substitute for snare, pending further experimenting. Future testing is required to see if this method scales up from a lab setting to emergency response applications.
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Event Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (ISE)
Department Civil and Environmental Engineering (ISE)