Water Protection

Improving techniques to clean up oil spills

CEPA member emergency response teams are well trained to clean up and remediate sites after oil spills, but they are always looking for better, more effective ways to handle spills. Working together with CAPP (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers), CEPA initiated a variety of research projects with the Royal Society of Canada. That research led to further research with a team from the International Institute for Sustainable Development Experimental Lakes Area that carried out an experiment in Kenora, Ontario.

While there have been many studies regarding how oil reacts in water, the Freshwater Oil Spill Remediation Study is further exploring how a freshwater ecosystem responds to diluted oil sands bitumen and crude oil spilled in a lake. 1.25 litres of oil was spilled into four boomed areas approximately 2.5 metres by 10 metres in size along the lakeshore. The spill was left for 72 hours before being cleaned up by professional oil-spill responders.

The researchers are examining how the ecosystem, from microbes to insects to fish, responds. The study will expand on knowledge regarding how microbes in marine environments degrade oil.