N: Sept. 26 & 27, 1978

E: 5 X 20 nautical mile test zone

located 35 nautical miles off the Southern California mainland.

The Test Program involved a fleet of 11 vessels, 5 aircraft, some 50 participants and cost in excess of 1/4 million dollars.


It confirmed that dispersants can be effectively applied by vessels and also that aircraft can be an even more effective vehicle in relation to response time and area covered.

Cost Effectiveness; once application techniques are refined, will weigh heavily in favor of aircraft application.

From a chemical and biological standpoint the following preliminary judgments can be given:


  • No statistically significant change was observed in Zooplankton species diversity or numbers with time or depth between control areas and areas of dispersed and non -dispersed oil slicks.

  • No visible external or internal oil contamination was observed in Zooplankton taken from beneath the test areas.

  • Onboard biological screening tests showed that anchovies exposed to a 50 per cent concentration of water from beneath the test areas exhibited -no acute toxicity effects.

Confirmation of these preliminary scientific results along with the results of related scientific investigations will be forthcoming in the near future.


Chemical analysis indicate that dispersant application under relatively calm sea conditions significantly increases concentrations of oil in near surface waters. (Three foot depths), beneath treated slicks, as compared with untreated slicks.

For example, beneath treated slicks, oil concentrations were 3 - 5 ppm, as compared to a maximum of three tenths of a ppm beneath the untreated slick. Further, beneath treated slicks, oil concentrations higher than background were not detected at depths of 10 feet or greater.

By contrast, dispersant application in 3 foot wave conditions resulted in somewhat higher concentrations of oil that penetrated to greater depths than during calm sea conditions. For example, values of 5 8 ppm were observed at 3 feet, and 1 - 4 ppm at 10 feet.


We now have sufficient data to start implementing a nation-wide response capability. This will require no capital outlays of any significance. The national coast lines are already dotted with Industry Coops or competent Oil Spill Contractors. With a minimum of coordination each strategic area should stock pile sufficient dispersant (say 100 drums) to meet the first several hours of the emergency. Other areas would fly a portion of their inventory to a stricken area. A large fully equipped four engine air craft would be retained under contract in a readiness condition. his can be done for $150,0OO/year and divided between the Coastal Coops, this would amount to some $10,00O/year or less/coop.

When the government sees this type of effort, and testing continues t o support the viability of dispersant application, I cannot help but think the delegation of authority to the OSC is simply a matter of time.

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