The Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) in collaboration with industry representatives and other state and federal trustee agencies has collected environmental samples (e.g., water, sediment, and tissue) for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) chemical analysis and conducted biological surveys in freshwater environments. Collectively, this information may be critical to help understand pre-spill or ambient conditions in the event ephemeral data collection (i.e., before oiling occurs) is delayed or missed.
There are many anthropogenic and natural sources of hydrocarbons in the environment. Ambient conditions (i.e., petroleum hydrocarbon concentrations in various media not associated with an accidental release) are assessed to gain an understanding of the existing environmental conditions (i.e., a pre-spill baseline). Similarly, biological surveys conducted to understand the assemblages and abundance of organisms that inhabit freshwater streams, rivers, and lakes, allow for a more accurate evaluation of resource impacts should an incident occur in the future. Ambient or pre-spill data are critical to identify the need for, and scope of, subsequent environmental sampling, and injury assessment.
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Chemistry