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Investigating the effect of oil spills
on the environment and public health.
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Funding Source: Year One Block Grant - The Alabama Marine Environmental Science Consortium

Project Overview

Analysis of hydrocarbons (PAHS) in sediment samples

Principal Investigator
Auburn University
Department of Civil Engineering

Abstract:

The overall goal of this project is to conduct laboratory studies to examine the transport behavior of sediments contaminated with Deepwater Horizon oil.  Laboratory-scale experiments are warranted because of the variability in natural systems and the difficulty in controlling system variables.  Of particular interest are the re-suspension and re-distribution behavior of oil-contaminated sediments as a function of shear velocity, and changes in oil concentration and constituent chemistry in sediments undergoing re-suspension and redistribution. 

An experimental flume is being constructed to produce steady shear velocity profiles across oil-contaminated sediments while allowing chemical sampling of sediment pore water.  A series of experiments will be performed using actual near-shore sediments collected from Orange Beach, Alabama and contaminated with known amounts of Louisiana light sweet crude oil.  Control experiments will also be performed using oil-free sediments.  The experiments will cover a range of shear velocities and will allow shear velocity-re-suspension profiles to be developed.  Additionally, changes in sediment-oil pore water chemistry will be examined as a function of water shear velocity and sediment re-suspension.




This research was made possible by a grant from BP/The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.
www.gulfresearchinitiative.org