The effect of chemical dispersant concentration on hydrocarbon mobility through permeable North-East Scotland sands

Luis J. Perez Calderon* (Corresponding Author), Lloyd D. Potts, Thomas Cornulier, Alejandro Gallego, James A. Anderson, Ursula Witte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Accidental releases of oil to the marine environment can reach sensitive shorelines resulting in a wide range of environmental impacts. Chemical dispersant is a response tool employed to minimise damage to coastal ecosystems by facilitating dispersal of oil slicks before they reach shores. However, chemical dispersants may increase entrainment of hydrocarbons into coastal sediments following an oil spill, resulting in higher hydrocarbon residence times in sediments. Here, the effect of dispersant concentration on the entrainment capability of hydrocarbons in permeable coastal sands from North East Scotland (United Kingdom) was evaluated. Hydrocarbon entrainment into sands was facilitated by dispersant application at concentrations below manufacturer-recommended dosage. Percolation of water-soluble hydrocarbons beyond 10 cm deep was not affected by chemical dispersant application and water-insoluble hydrocarbon concentrations increased with dispersant concentration. Results highlighted that the application of dispersant readily mobilised less water-soluble hydrocarbons through coastal sands but did not affect pore-water transport of more water-soluble hydrocarbons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-81
Number of pages10
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Early online date18 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

The authors acknowledge Paul Hallett and Annette Raffan for granting access to and training on the tensiometer, respectively. Cruickshank Analytical Lab staff are acknowledged for assistance in carbon content analysis. The Marine Collaboration Research Forum is acknowledged for funding LJP's PhD project. BP are acknowledged for providing Schiehallion crude oil.


  • Dispersant
  • Oil
  • Percolation
  • Sediment
  • Transport


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