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Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
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The objective of the proposed research was to develop real-time and passive monitoring protocols to effectively determine the impact of dispersant use and VOC release, in both surface and subsurface applications, on oil spill response worker safety.
The project was accomplished in a series of tasks, as described below.
Task 1 Conduct Baffled Flask Study: A series of bench-scale laboratory studies were performed to determine mass balance of airborne benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylenes (BTEX) components within a baffled-flask microcosm following addition of the dispersant COREXIT 9500 to a South Louisiana crude oil. This task was designed to determine the effects of varied mixing intervals, varied dispersant to oil ratios, and multiple water temperatures on VOC concentrations in the air and water phases.
Task 2 Conduct Flow-through Tank Study: A series of macro-scale laboratory studies were performed to determine mass balance of BTEX components within an 85-L flow-through tank system following addition of COREXIT 9500 to a South Louisiana crude oil. This task allowed for analysis and modeling of VOC concentrations in the air and water boundary layers surrounding an oil slick prior to and following dispersant application.
Task 3 Conduct High-Pressure Static Vessel Study: A series of high-pressure static vessel laboratory studies were performed to determine mass balance of BTEX components within a 1-L stainless steel pressure vessel with the addition of COREXIT 9500 to a South Louisianan crude oil. The study was designed to simulate VOC dissolution in oil plumes at various depths and pressures following subsurface dispersant application.
Task 4 Conduct Ohmsett Tank Study: A series of test-tank studies were conducted at Ohmsett to determine real-time analysis of VOCs in water and air phase after South Louisiana crude oil was chemically dispersed into the water column.
Task 5 Project Conferences: LSU worked with NOAA and USCG to develop recommendations and countermeasures to optimize dispersant use for VOC control and worker safety.
Task 6 Documentation of Efforts: The data collected during all testing was analyzed and a draft and final technical report written documenting the objectives, methods, results, conclusions and recommendations arising from the research program. Additionally, the results of this study were presented at Clean Gulf 2014 in San Antonio, TX.
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The final report is complete and is posted below.