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2018 Science of Oil Spills Training

MARCH 30, 1018--The week of March 26, OR&R’s Emergency Response Division team of oil spill scientists conducted a “Science of Oil Spills” (SOS) class at the NOAA Disaster Response Center (DRC) in Mobile, Alabama.

Group of people on a dock looking out towards the water.
Students and instructors on the SOS class field trip to a Dauphin Island shoreline. Image credit: NOAA.

The Mobile class included training sessions covering a wide range of spill response topics, as well as a field trip to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Classroom exercises demonstrated how viscosity, temperature, sediment permeability and porosity influence oil behavior on shorelines, and how oil disorders feather structure, impairing waterproofing and insulating properties. In addition to these exercises, students learned about the fate and behavior of oil spilled in the environment, oil chemistry and toxicity, how to use Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) maps, and gained insight into the complexity of environmental trade-offs associated with response options and cleanup endpoints.  Finally, lecturers provided information on special considerations for marine mammals and sea turtles during an oil spill, as well as an overview of the recent offshore incidents in the Gulf of Mexico.

OR&R's SOS training team was led by training coordinator, JD Hoyle, and Katie Krushinski, DRC Exercise and Communications Coordinator. The 38 class participants included representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, other federal, tribal, and state agencies, local government, and industry.

SOS workshops are always in high demand in the oil spill response community, and this fiscal year was no exception. Two additional SOS classes are planned in fiscal year 2018 including in Lewes, Delaware and Seattle, Washington.  The Lewes class is scheduled for the week of April 9, 2018. The Seattle class is scheduled for the week of June 11, 2018.

For more information about upcoming SOS classes, please contact

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