Oil Spills Research

Oil Spills Research

Source: EPA

The US produces, distributes, and consumes large quantities of oil every year.

Oil fuels the following:

  • our factories;
  • power plants;
  • homes; and
  • transportation.

From the production, storage, transport, and use of oil, 10–25 million gallons of oil spill each year. These oil releases

  • threaten public health and safety,
  • contaminate drinking water,
  • cause fire and explosion,
  • diminish air and water quality,
  • compromise agriculture,
  • destroy recreational areas,
  • waste nonrenewable resources,
  • cause severe environmental impacts on ecosystems, and
  • harm and kill wildlife and plants and destroy habitats and food.


EPA researchers conduct extensive research to mitigate the effects of past and future oil spills. EPA oil spills research includes decades-long monitoring of the impacts of spilled oil. The research includes long-term effects from the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident and technical support in the Deepwater Horizon- BP Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill.

The EPA develops laboratory protocols needed for listing commercial products on the National Contingency Plan Product Schedule. Lab, pilot, and field studies provide guidance on the use and implementation of bioremediation on sandy shorelines, wetlands, and salt marshes. Other projects demonstrate which factors are most important for dispersion of oil into the water column at all temperatures.

Visit: Science in Action: Determining Which Dispersants Will Be Effective in Future Deepwater Oil Spills.