Tracing Oil as a Pollutant in Water
- Nick J. Malueg (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) | Daniel F. Krawczyk (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 1973
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 243 - 248
- 1973. Not subject to copyright. This document was prepared by government employees or with government funding that places it in the public domain.
- 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 6.5.5 Oil and Chemical Spills, 5.5.2 Core Analysis, 6.5.2 Water use, produced water discharge and disposal, 4.1.9 Tanks and storage systems, 4.3.3 Aspaltenes, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment
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Every kind of spilled oil has its unique characteristics, however subtle. A series of tests can sort out the characteristics until they reveal the "fingerprints" of that oil. Efforts are now being concentrated on building a source data bank for matching fingerprints, and when that is accomplished, you can be sure that the spiller's sins will find him out.
What is the law on oil pollution? Historically, Congress in 1899 passed a Refuse Act (33 USC 407) that made it unlawful (without a permit) to discharge refuse into navigable waters. In 1966, the Supreme Court ruled that refuse includes all foreign substances and pollutants. Thus, today the "Refuse Act" is still a vehicle to prevent pollution. The Oil Pollution Act of 1924 amended for administration in 1966 Pollution Act of 1924 amended for administration in 1966 deals with the discharges of oil from boats or vessels. The Federal Water Pollution Control Act, containing the laws passed in 1961, 1965, and 1966, and the Water Quality Improvement Act of 1970 define the control of pollution by oil. The discharges of oil that violate water quality standards and discharges of oil that cause a film or sheen upon or discoloration of the surface of the water or produce an oil-water emulsion to be deposited beneath the surface of the water or upon adjoining shorelines, are prohibited.
One can next ask the question, How much oil does it take to produce a sheen or a film? Specifically, this concerns the solubility of oils in water and how solubilities differ as a function of the molecular structure of the oil. However, in the Report of the International Joint Commission United States and Canada on the Pollution of Boundary Waters, the section on chemicals and oils states that protection should be provided for the international waters when discharges provided for the international waters when discharges are limited to 15-ppm oils as defined by the extraction procedure. Thus, it appears that if effluents contain procedure. Thus, it appears that if effluents contain less than 15 mg of oil per liter of water, no polluting effects would be visible. However, the Water Quality Act was very specific in stating, "The purpose of this Act is to enhance the quality and value of our water resources and to establish a national policy for the prevention, control, and abatement of water pollution." The impact of the compendium of legislation pollution." The impact of the compendium of legislation requires that no discernible quantity of oil be discharged into receiving streams. When oil is present in water or on water, the job of the chemist is to determine where the discharge originated. It is our purpose here to delineate an approach to trace an oil purpose here to delineate an approach to trace an oil or a petroleum product found in or on water (that is, a spill) to a source.
The EPA (formerly FWQA) Northwest Region Laboratory, formerly located at Portland, Ore., and now located at Redmond, Wash., has been tracing oil samples to their sources since 1963. During the period from 1963 to the present, the EPA Regional Laboratory has established a routine from the time of collection of the sample to the preparation of the final report on the sample. preparation of the final report on the sample. Samples are collected by various governmental agencies. The agency is responsible for delivering the sample to the EPA Regional Laboratory. To establish a chain of evidence, all information on the samples is logged in a bound and numbered log book.
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