The issue of oil seeping into water bodies has captured the attention of researchers, environmentalists, and industries alike. Beyond economic losses, these leaks pose a significant threat to the environment, putting humans, animals, and plants in jeopardy. Additionally, the nature of oil spills and runoff means that contamination can swiftly spread to distant bodies of water, contingent on wind patterns and tides.
To mitigate environmental damage, both national and international entities have enforced increasingly stringent environmental regulations.
Early detection of oil leaks offers a technological solution to these challenges. Swift identification allows for a prompt response, whether it pertains to large-scale incidents involving oil tankers and pipelines or ongoing, albeit smaller, cumulative runoff.
Leakwise sensors provide the optimal solution for early detection of both types of oil spills. These sensors demonstrate high sensitivity, capable of detecting as little as 0.3mm of hydrocarbon in water. There is no delay – once the sensor comes into contact with the oil, the data is promptly processed and relayed to the controller, adhering to the selected sensitivity settings. Moreover, specific Leakwise configurations can identify soil contamination, expanding their applicability. The sensor interfaces with the control center via relay contact, enabling remote monitoring of oil spills and adjustment of sensor settings, even in the most challenging logistical settings.
Furthermore, Leakwise sensors are robust and can operate in hazardous conditions, impervious to dirt or oil accumulation, variations in water salinity, temperature fluctuations, sea level changes, and turbulence.
Alerting for Oil Leaks
Several factors determine when an oil leak response team should be activated, what measures it should take, and the effectiveness of these actions:
Firstly, the situational awareness of the oil leak response team is crucial. How quickly are they notified of the incident, its location, and, most importantly, the volume of leaked hydrocarbon fluid?
Subsequently, the response team must evaluate the risks stemming from the oil spill. Will it undergo detrimental chemical reactions with other compounds, complicating cleanup efforts? Where will wind and currents displace the hydrocarbon layer? What environmental factors and populations are at risk?
Following this, the response team must develop response strategies. Can the oil spill be effectively cleaned up? How?
To make an informed decision, the response team must assess the likely outcomes of each option. How much of the oil spill will each approach remove? Are there any potential side effects? How long will it take for the remaining oil to degrade, and what areas will it affect before doing so?
Even after a response is determined, the response team must continually monitor the effectiveness of their actions in mitigating the damage caused by the oil spill.
Answering these questions is far from straightforward. Oil spills often occur in remote, challenging-to-access locations, and under adverse climatic conditions. Moreover, the characteristics of the oil itself evolve over time.
Understanding what has occurred, pinpointing the exact details of the incident, and comprehending ongoing developments all require data. Specifically, the early baseline data from the pre-spill environment and the immediate post-spill environment can only be obtained through continuous remote monitoring for oil leaks in the environment.
Agar Environmental, a leader in Electromagnetic Energy Absorption detectors, recognised the need for actionable data. This led to the development of their Leakwise oil-on-water detection and monitoring systems, providing oil spill monitoring and response teams with the tools they need to furnish decision makers with robust and actionable data.