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Recent accomplishments of CDFW's scientific community


Identifying the Oily “Fingerprint” at CDFW’s Petroleum Chemistry Laboratory

Man wearing white lab coat, clear safety goggles, and green gloves holding graduated cylinder with clear fluid in laboratory setting

Brown vials with green tops in a dark gray tray.

Man wearing white lab coat holding up two sheets of white paper with graphs.

You've seen television forensic dramas where sleuths use science to help find a killer. What many don’t know is these same types of similar techniques like fingerprinting can help investigators track down the source of an oil spill. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Petroleum Chemistry Laboratory (PCL), located east of Sacramento in Rancho Cordova, is tasked with determining the origin of oil spills, which can lead to criminal charges in California. They do this by comparing the chemical properties of the oil to known sources from around the world. The end result is sound scientific evidence that can hold up in a court of law.

Media Contact: Steve Gonzalez, CDFW OSPR, (916) 322-1683