Cleaning up oil spills

Professor Milena Popov’s Introduction to Sustainability Studies (SUS 299) students have been devising methods to clean up oil spills, exploring the traditional methods such as aeration, filtration, sedimentation, conglomeration, and even brainstorming new and improved methods.

Photo: newamericanmedia.org

Photo: newamericanmedia.org

For example, using a filter separates oil and water for oil spills affecting bodies of water, while sedimentation involves using soil or sand to absorb an oil spill and protect the rest of the habitat.  Click here for a Washington Post infographic about how the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been managed and cleaned up.  As the infographic explains, though extracting oil is highly mechanized, cleaning up oil spills “requires mostly tedious manual labor.”

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