A model to predict rate of dissolution of toxic compounds into seawater from an oil spill
As we witness with dismay the media images of the environmental consequences of the current large scale oil spills there is an urgency to find effective ways of dealing with such incidents. Hundreds of oil spills occur every year, the effects can be severe and long term. The Gulf War oil spill was one of the worst in history, the exact size of the spill remains unknown; however, the estimate of 6 to 8 millions of barrels is most referenced. The severity of spills depend on the type and amount of oil as well as environmental conditions such as temperature and wind and water speeds. This paper proposes a model to calculate the rate at which toxic components dissolve in seawater. The result could be helpful in the selection of an appropriate method for clean-up operations.
In this paper a semianalytical model has been proposed to predict the rate at which oil components dissolve in water when an oil spill occurs in a marine environment. The model breaks the oil into a number of pseudocomponents proportional to the number of compounds originally present in the oil and calculates the rate of dissolution for each component. In addition, the components are divided into paraffinic, naphthenic, and aromatic hydrocarbon types and the amount of dissolution of each pseudocomponent is calculated versus time. In this method the concentration of most toxic components of oil (mainly monoaromatics) is determined. The model considers variable surface area and slick thickness and requires oil specifications (i.e., American Petroleum Institute [API] gravity and boiling point) in addition to air and water temperatures and speeds. The model has been applied to a Kuwaiti crude oil and its products naphtha and kerosene samples at 20°C and 40°C. The results could be useful in selection of an appropriate method for oil spill clean up as well as simulation of environmental impact of oil spill from toxicity points of view.
Riazi, M., & Roomi, Y. (2008). A Model to Predict Rate of Dissolution of Toxic Compounds into Seawater from an Oil Spill International Journal of Toxicology, 27 (5), 379-386 DOI: 10.1080/10915810802503578