Accession Number:



Demonstration of an Automated Oil Spill Detection System

Descriptive Note:

Final rept.

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Current spill detection and response strategies rely solely upon the use of human observation to visually detect the presence of a surface sheen indicative of a petroleum spill. The practice of relying upon human observers to detect spills, even when conscientiously applied, has severe shortcomings. Spills often occur at unanticipated times or places in which no one is present to see and report the event. The Spill Sentry automated oil spill monitoringalarm sensor technology was developed to address the need for rapid reliable spill detection. The objectives of this ESTCP demonstration were to validate the newly developed automated oil spill sensor technology under real-world conditions and to promote rapid transition to DoD users by facilitating commercialization, user awareness, and regulatory acceptance. To meet these objectives, year-long field demonstrations were conducted at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Langley Air Force Base, Norfolk Naval Station, and Pearl Harbor Naval Station. In addition, in order to validate the system under controlled conditions and to verify performance parameters, wave-tank testing was conducted at the Ohmsett National Oil Spill Response Test Facility in Leonardo, New Jersey. The system detects petroleum contamination in aquatic systems with an upward-looking, in-water, multispectral, underwater fluorometer. The sensor continuously records hydrocarbon data via a wireless link to a base station computer. The computer serves to log, process, and display data in real time it provides automated telephonic alarming in the event of a detected spill and supports real-time remote data access through inter or intranet. The system met or exceeded performance objectives for spill detection, effectiveness in the presence of waves, window biofouling prevention, maintenance, ease of use, deployment 201locating202, spectral background interference, and oil type discrimination. The system did not meet objectives for reliability 201up time202 an

Subject Categories:

  • Miscellaneous Detection and Detectors
  • Water Pollution and Control

Distribution Statement: