Floating debris has greatly hindered the cleanup of spilled fluids in several pollution instances. This debris has hampered the use of pollution-response equipment and has presented a major materials-handling and disposal problem.

The types of waterborne debris found in coastal, harbor, and estuarine areas are described in the paper. Locations where debris has or could complicate spill cleanups are described. General natural effects on debris concentration are also given.

Current debris-handling practices are described along with the general handling requirements necessary for spill-cleanup contingency planning.

Effects of debris on pollution-response equipment are considered.

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Author notes

1The opinions and assertions contained herein are the private ones of the writers and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the Commandant or of the United States Coast Guard at large.