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EXPLANATION: Backyard mechanics dump more used oil into Michigan's environment each year than the Exxon Valdez spilled into Alaska's Prince William Sound
EXPLANATION: Oil spills account for only about five percent of the oil entering the oceans.
The Coast Guard estimates that for United States waters sewage treatment plants discharge twice as much oil each year as tanker spills.
During the last decade, more than one billion gallons of oil spilled worldwide.
Land runoff and recreational boating account for nearly 3⁄4 of the 5,000,000
gallons of petroleum released into the oceans annually
National Academy of Sciences 5/23/2203) – perwww.4.nationalacademies.org)
Like several individual PAHs, waste crankcase oil has
been shown to be mutagenic and teratogenic . The
results are mixed, but some immunological, reproductive,
fetotoxic, and genotoxic effects have been associated
The concentration of various PAHs is much higher in used
oil than in (fresh) lubricating oil . For example,
Grimmer et al. reported concentrations of dibenz(a,c)-
anthracene, 4-methylpyrene, fluoranthene,
benz(a)anthracene, benzo(e)pyrene, benzo(g,h,i)perylene,
and benzo(a)pyrene, respectively, 36, 49, 253, 720,
1,112, 4,770, and 7,226 times higher in used compared
to fresh oil .
As an oil used in a crankcase, motor oil breaks down to
give a wide variety of oxygenated and aromatic
hydrocarbons . Other organic compounds found in
waste oil include toluene, benzene, xylenes, and
ethylbenzene. Also present are organic and inorganic
compounds of chlorine, sulphur, phosphorus, bromine,
nitrogen, and metals such as zinc, magnesium, barium, and
lead resulting from oil additives and contamination
during use or disposal .
Used engine oil is a contaminant of concern, with large
volumes entering aquatic ecosystems through water runoff.
The major source of petroleum contamination in urbanized
estuaries comes from waste crankcase oil . PAHs,
heavy metals, additives and antioxidants, trace levels of
chlorinated solvents, and PCBs have been detected in used
engine oil . As mentioned above, naphthalene,
benzo(a)pyrene, fluorene, and phenanthrene are common PAH
components of used motor oil .
Light crude contains volatile organic compounds which evaporate. Thus, light crude oil will lose up to 10 to 15% of its volume immediately, and up to 25% of its volume within 24 hours. How much of its volume is lost depends on the surface-to-volume ratio of the bulk oil. Events that disperse the oil, such as a well blowout, can affect this. Thus, crude oil in a pool or tank will retain more of its volatile components than crude in an oil slick.
When oil is spilled in the ocean, it initially spreads primarily on the surface of the water. How much it spreads depends on its relative density and composition. The oil slick formed may remain cohesive, or, if seas are rough, it may break up. Waves, water currents, and wind can force the oil slick to drift over large areas, impacting the open ocean, coastal areas, and marine and terrestrial habitats in the path of the drift.
Oil that contains volatile organic compounds partially evaporates, losing 20 to 40 percent of its mass and becoming denser and more viscous. A small percentage of oil may dissolve in the water. The oil residue also can spread almost invisibly in the water or combine with water to form a thick mousse-like substance. Part of the oil waste may sink with suspended particulate matter, and the remainder eventually congeals into sticky tar balls.
Over time, oil waste deteriorates (weathers) and disintegrates because of exposure to sunlight (photolysis) and biodegradation. The rate of biodegradation depends on the availability of nutrients, oxygen, and microorganisms, as well as temperature.
The crude oil that is spilling into the Gulf is called MC252, or Louisiana Sweet Crude. When it reaches the surface of the water, it spreads into a thin slick that is dull or dark brown in color. As wind and waves tear the slick into smaller patches, various processes begin to work on the oil, changing its appearance and physical characteristics.
Oil that reaches the shoreline might appear as mousse or tar balls. Oil mousse is a mixture of oil and water. It is brown, rust, or orange in color with a pudding-like consistency. Oil mousse can sometimes be confused with algae. Tar balls are small, dark-colored pieces of weathered oil that may stick to your feet when you walk on the beach. Tar balls also occur naturally and wash up regularly on Gulf Coast shorelines. pensacolabeachhistory.com...
When the Exxon Valdez struck Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound in Alaska 21 years ago, it spewed 10.8 million gallons of heavy crude oil onto pristine shores. Only 10 percent of the spilled oil was ever recovered. The April 20 explosion and fire that killed 11 aboard the Deepwater Horizon released a different grade of petroleum product, "Louisiana sweet crude."
"It's called sweet because it has a sulfur content of less than 1 percent," said John Curry, director of external affairs for BP. "It's thinner and it's a lot lighter than heavy crude." LINK
The oil from the Deepwater Horizon/BP spill is known as Light Louisiana Crude, which does not contain hydrogen sulfide. The
components of Light Louisiana Crude which are of most concerns to public health, such as benzene, evaporate quickly once the oil
reaches the surface. As much as 40 percent of the oil spill volume may evaporate in the first 24 to 48 hours after being released.