The West Falmouth oil spill : persistence of the pollution eight months after the accident
Sanders, Howard L.
Grassle, J. Frederick
Hampson, George R.
MetadataShow full item record
LocationBuzzards Bay, MA
West Falmouth, MA
A spill of 650,000-700,000 liters of #2 fuel oil has contaminated the coastal areas of Buzzards Bay, Mass. The present report summarizes the results of our continuing chemical and biological study which were available at the end of May 1970, more than eight months after the accident. The effects of environmental exposure on the composition of the oil are discussed; many analytical parameters are sufficiently stable to permit continued correlation of the oil remaining in sediments and organisms with the fuel oil involved in the spill. Oil from the spill is still present in the sediments, inshore and offshore and in the shellfish. A further spread of the pollution to more distant offshore regions has occurred during midwinter; as a result, the pollution now covers a much larger area than immediately after the accident. The first stages of biological (presumably bacterial) degradation of the oil are now evident especially in the least polluted regions; however, it has depleted predominantely the straight and branched chain alkanes. The more toxic aromatic hydrocarbons are resistant; as a result, the toxicity of the oil has not been diminished. Where oil can be detected in the sediments there has been a kill of animals; in the most polluted areas the kill has been almost total. Shellfish that survived the accident have taken up the fuel oil. The 1970 crop of shellfish is as heavily polluted as was last year’s crop. Oysters transplanted to unpolluted water for as long as 6 months retained the oil without change in composition or concentration.
Suggested CitationTechnical Report: Blumer, M., Sass, J., Souza, G., Sanders, Howard L., Grassle, J. Frederick, Hampson, George R., "The West Falmouth oil spill : persistence of the pollution eight months after the accident", 1970-09, DOI:10.1575/1912/2118, https://hdl.handle.net/1912/2118
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Distribution of hydrocarbons in a salt marsh ecosystem after an oil spill and physiological changes in marsh animals from the polluted environment Burns, Kathryn A. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1975-06)The studies described in this thesis were designed to answer several problems relating to the recovery of a salt marsh heavily polluted by an accidental spill of Number 2 fuel oil. Field and laboratory studies were ...
Farrington, John W.; Xiaoping, Jia; Clifford, C. Hovey; Tripp, Bruce W.; Livramento, Joaquim B.; Davis, Alan C.; Frew, Nelson M.; Johnson, Carl G. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1986-03)Retention and release of No. 2 fuel oil compounds by Mytilus edulis contaminated by a small oil spill in the Cape Cod Canal in 1983 has been studied for the population "in situ" and for a subsample transplanted to a ...
Burns, Kathryn A.; Teal, John M. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1971-11)The oil barge "Florida" ran aground just off Little Island, West Falmouth, Massachusetts on September 16, 1969. About 175,000 gallons of Number Two fuel oil leaked into Buzzards Bay and the adjacent Wild Harbor Marsh. ...