EPA Flashback: If “oil floats around much longer” it will emulsify and be “almost impossible to clean up”

Oil officials hope dispersants will dilute the spill, Anchorage Daily News, March 26, 1989:

Every environmental agency agrees the best way to clean up the oil is to skim it off the surface mechanically, [Environmental Protection Agency official Carl] Lautenberger said. …

“The remaining oil on the surface is getting thicker,” Lautenberger said. If the oil floats around much longer, it will begin to emulsify, he said.

Emulsification brings oil and water together in a grimy goo that is almost impossible to clean up.

“It becomes a tarball type thing,” Lautenberger said.


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