Cleaning oil from shorelines following spills is a costly economic problem worldwide. Conventional methods of clean-up -- including surface skimmers, vacuum systems and shovels --are still in use, but past experience suggests that a significant amount of spilled oil is cleaned naturally by a process called oil-mineral aggregations (OMA). OMA is a process where oil droplets and sediment grains adhere to one another, providing an opportunity for naturally-occurring bacteria to consume and, thus, biodegrade the oil.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has teamed up with Dalhousie University to explore the role of OMA in enhancing the clean-up of spilled oil. The research will be used to develop clean-up techniques that obtain the maximum benefit from this natural process and that complement nature's work.
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