Booms, skimmers among the tools used to clean up oil spills

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) – Crews deployed skimmers and floating barriers known as booms on Sunday as they tried to keep oil from a massive spill in Southern California from fouling more beaches, wildlife and protected wetlands in the region.

Authorities have several tools and techniques they can deploy to try to slow the spread of oil and then cleanse it from water and land – methods they have perfected over decades of work in an attempt to mitigate. damage caused by such environmental disasters.

Experts are still trying to determine why the leak in Orange County occurred, but Amplify Energy said on Sunday it had prevented the oil from flowing. At least 126,000 gallons (572,807 liters) had spilled into the waters.

Contractors aboard small boats deployed the skimmers and booms, hoping to prevent more oil from entering the Talbert Marsh wetland in Huntington Beach. Dams are interconnected barriers distributed over the water.

On Sunday, contractors also used plastic bags to collect oil from the water. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says this hands-on work is often used in cleanup interventions.

The agency said crews would use shovels and other hand tools to remove oil from the shore, rudimentary techniques used when heavy machinery cannot reach areas.

According to the agency, other methods that may be used include rinsing the oil from the shores in water, where it is easier to collect; industrial vacuum cleaners for sucking oil from land areas; specialized absorbents that “soak up” oil but not water; and “in situ burning”, which ignites the oil from a new spill on fire while it floats on the surface.

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