Sediment contamination from oil platform installations to be studied for potential ecological impacts

Posted October 28, 2022

SCCWRP has begun working to study piles of seafloor debris known as shell mounds that were created during installation of 26 offshore oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel decades ago – a sediment quality condition assessment that will shed light on whether contaminants in the shell mounds are adversely affecting marine life.

The three-year project, launched in October, will use passive sampling technology to measure chemical contaminants leaching from the shell mounds and surrounding sediment. Researchers will determine the viability of passive sampling for assessing shell mound contamination, as shell mounds cannot be sampled via traditional sediment grab or sediment core sampling methods due to their density.

Passive sampling devices measure the portion of contamination in seafloor sediment that dissipates into the water column over time, creating potential exposure routes for sediment-dwelling marine life.

The insights from the study will help inform the ongoing development of plans by federal and State agencies to decommission and potentially remove the 26 Southern California oil platforms in the coming years.

More news related to: Bioassessment, Sediment Quality