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A summary of the clean-up techniques used in the Jubail Marine Wildlife Sanctuary after the Gulf War oil spill and an assessment of their benefit to intertidal recovery

A b s t r a c t: Various clean-up techniques are discussed with particular regard to their application in the Jubail Marine Wildlife Sanctuary, an area still suffering severe oil pollution as a result of the Gulf War oil spill. Identified trials conducted in the area are evaluated. Flushing techniques in conjunction with agricultural tillers, or using high-pressure, rotary, water jet flushers ("autoflusher") removed oil from sheltered soft-sediment shores. A small manually operated version of the "autoflusher" may be suitable for application in salt-marsh areas as it can operate in soft mud with minimal environmental damage. Most of the weathered tar has been peeled off the rocks by wave action. Resettlement has commenced on most of the rocky shores, but typical fauna from the upper intertidal zones is still missing. Further cleaning activities are not recommended for these shores. At present there is little to indicate any real biological improvement at the soft-sediment clean-up sites over the natural recovery processes. However, natural recovery at the top of the soft-sediment shores is slow and would be greatly encouraged by removal of the tar mats.


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