Previous trials have been carried out using dispersants to clean surfaces along shorelines. Those trials showed that dispersants were effective at removing weathered oil from a variety of surfaces. However alternative cleaning agents are available to remove contamination from impacted substrates, this paper details trials carried out on an approved product in the UK.
In the UK the use of dispersants is a regulated activity, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) oversees that regulation and maintains a list of products which may be used in oil spill response in UK waters. There is one surface cleaning product which has been approved for use by Defra. While dispersants are used to disperse surface oil into the water columnsurface cleanersare designed to aid the removal of oil from surfaces for recovery using standard skimming devices. The product is an organic solvent partly formed from citrus oil extracts.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency sponsored a series of trials to identify the most appropriate and effective techniques for the use of the surface cleaning agent. The trials were carried out using several different oil types, oil state, substrate and cleaning techniques. This paper describesl the findings of these trials and the means for developing best practice for the use of surface cleaners
The use of surface cleaners is not a new response technique and they have been used during several major incidents including the Exxon Valdez and the Prestige.