Past Awards

FY 2024 | 1 – Understand | 24-10-04

Evaluation of In-Situ Response Options

Ed Owens, Owens Coastal Consultants, Ltd
Contract Term: 4/01/24-12/31/24
Award: $80,000

PROJECT SUMMARY
The Oil Spill Recovery Institute (OSRI) recognizes the operational realities of spill response in the
Arctic. Weather, oceanography, light conditions, and the lack of infrastructure combine to limit or
constrain field strategies and tactics that involve the deployment of large numbers of personnel or
amounts of equipment for extended periods. These considerations, coupled with the need to minimize
waste generation and management, encourage the evaluation of in-situ treatment options that have, in
many instances, historically been regarded as “alternative response options” rather than accepted
standard practice.
The selection of shoreline treatment methods is a two-step process. The first step involves identifying
operationally feasible and viable options for the oil type and the shore type. This elimination process
simplifies the next step that is the evaluation of the consequences and trade-offs associated with the
feasible and viable options. In a spill response this evaluation may involve a Net Environmental
Benefit Analysis (NEBA) or a Spill Impact Mitigation Analysis (SIMA), either of which is a location-and-time-specific process (IPIECA-IOGP, 2015: IPIECA-API-IOGP, 2018).
The objective of the proposed study is to examine the potential use of in-situ shoreline cleanup or
treatment techniques in the Arctic. The study would consider natural attenuation as an option and
would examine the environmental constraints on the feasibility of in-situ treatment options and the
deployment viability of in-situ treatment operations systems.
The study would address the mission of understanding by evaluation and presentation of all the relevant
data and information through the creation of a multi-layered knowledge tree that would guide a user
through increasing levels of detail.
The study would address the mission of response through the understanding of the advantages and
limitations of in-situ, and other, options in the context of a tactical feasibility analysis for Arctic shore
types and of an operations systems viability analysis of feasible treatment options.
The study would address the mission of informing the audience of regulators, planners, and the public
by the creation of a decision guide to supplement the “knowledge tree” concept. An option for this
phase of the project would be short informational video(s) to explain the purpose and results of the
study.
METHODS
a. The study would interpret the available data from oil spills, field trials, and laboratory
experiments on the persistence of stranded oil and on the ability to accelerate recovery by
intervention (treatment). This evaluation would provide the context in which to assess the trade-offs and consequences associated with in-situ treatment tactics versus all other options.
b. The interpretation would evaluate the historic data and information regarding in-situ treatment
from spill response data and observations, field trials, and laboratory experiments. The most
scientifically rigorous data sets are those generated from the BIOS and Svalbard ITOSS (In-situ
Treatment of Oiled Sediment Shorelines) field trials. These results would be supplemented by
data and observations from the Arrow, Metula, Selendang Ayu, and Westwood Annette oil spills
that, although sub-arctic, provide long-term information of the effects of treatment options.
Importantly, the project team has first-hand knowledge of both the BIOS and ITOSS trials as well
as all of the aforementioned spills.
c. The project team will frame the results to support the decision process to improve the
effectiveness of oiled shoreline treatment and response in the Arctic. The proposed method would
follow the recently developed EPPR three-stage concept: a feasibility analysis of shoreline
treatment options, a viability analysis of shoreline treatment operations systems, and a remote-area systems deployment and access analysis that was designed specifically for remote (Arctic)
regions.
With respect to access to the historic data and information, the deliverables would include a keyword-based, multi-layered knowledge tree to guide users to increasing levels of detail.