Recent inland spills in Latin America have generated interest in dispersant use for freshwater oil spills. However, oil spill dispersants primarily are formulated for use in marine waters. Dispersants that are designed for saltwater use show reduced effectiveness when applied in freshwater. The effectiveness of COREXIT® 9500 in low salinity waters varies with the type of oil, the dispersant-to-oil ratio (DOR), and other factors. The effectiveness of COREXIT® 9500 can decrease markedly at salinities of 15 ppt or less. The authors observed an increase in effectiveness of COREXIT® 9500 in freshwater when the dispersant was blended with an inorganic, divalent salt, such as calcium chloride, prior to use (patent pending). COREXIT® 9500* refers here to the blend of the salt and dispersant.

The Exxon Dispersant Effectiveness Test (EXDET) was used to evaluate dispersant performance in deionized water and in river water samples from Rio de la Plata, Argentina. COREXIT® 9500 showed 22% effectiveness on Alaska North Slope (ANS) crude oil in deionized water, a value indicative of poor effectiveness. Depending on the amount of calcium chloride added, COREXIT® 9500* showed up to 63% effectiveness on ANS crude oil in deionized water, which indicates good effectiveness. The effectiveness of COREXIT® 9500* and COREXIT® 9500 was compared for three additional crude oils both in deionized water and in river water. In all cases, the effectiveness of COREXIT® 9500 was lower compared with COREXIT® 9500*.

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