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The West Falmouth Oil Spill: ∼100 Kg of Oil Found to Persist Decades Later

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In order to investigate the long-term fate of petroleum hydrocarbons in salt marsh sediments in Wild Harbor (West Falmouth, MA) impacted by the Florida spill of 1969, 26 sediment cores were collected and analyzed for total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH). The results from this effort indicate that the distribution of petroleum hydrocarbons is spatially heterogeneous, oil compounds are generally located at sediment depths of 4 to 20 cm in areas closest to the banks of the marsh, and ∼ 100 kg of petroleum residues can be found to persist in intertidal sediments that were originally the most impacted.
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Keywords: Florida spill; No. 2 fuel oil; West Falmouth; petroleum hydrocarbons; sediments

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA 2: Southampton College, Long Island University, Southampton, NY, USA 3: GeoNet Systems, Bournedale, MA, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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