By Gould R.F. (ed.)

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Environment Canada) Gasoline, diesel fuel, and light crude oils are the most likely to cause aquatic toxicity. A highly weathered oil is unlikely to dissolve into the water. On open water, the concentrations of hydrocarbons in the water column are unlikely to kill aquatic organisms. Dissolution occurs immediately after the spill, and the rate of dissolution decreases rapidly after the spill as soluble substances are quickly depleted. Some of the soluble compounds also evaporate rapidly. Photooxidation Photooxidation can change the composition of an oil.

Large response organizations have also been formed in Southampton, England and in Singapore, Malaysia. PRIVATE AND GOVERNMENT RESPONSE ORGANIZATIONS In North America, private firms also provide oil spill containment and cleanup services. These firms are often also engaged in activities such as towing, marine salvage, or waste oil disposal and sometimes operate remote cleanup operations or maintain equipment depots as well. Many of these firms have contracts with the cooperatives to provide services.

As the seriousness of an incident is often not known in the initial phases, one of the first priorities is to determine the magnitude of the spill and its potential impact. Alerting the first response personnel and the responsible government agency is the first step in activating an oil spill contingency plan. Reporting a spill to the designated agency, regardless of the size or seriousness of the spill, is a legal requirement in most jurisdictions in Canada, the United States, and in other countries.

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