What Happens When an Oil Spill Occurs?
ES0703  Cleanup
A variety of techniques can be used to help remove spilled oil from the environment. In the case of the Exxon Valdez cleanup, oiled beaches were washed with water and oiled wildlife were cleaned with dishwashing detergent. Today, hot water washing is not used as often because new research is showing that it may do more harm than good to the beach ecosystem. Other techniques include skimming and vacuuming oil, as well as using chemical dispersants to break up the oil.
Workers spray beach rocks with hot water to remove oil.
Cleanup efforts on ship and shore are documented for training new cleanup personnel.

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