The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released the final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment stemming from the 1993 Tampa Bay Spill.
The plan, which describes the human use and recreational losses from the spill, identifies 14 restoration projects to address the lost recreational use of the bay's shorelines, shellfish beds and surface waters. Pending final approval, the selected projects will be funded with $2.5 million recovered from claims arising from the spill.
Tar balls are fragments or lumps of oil weathered to a semi-solid or solid consistency, feel sticky, and are difficult to remove from contaminated surfaces. They are formed through the combining of viscous hydrocarbons with debris that is present in the water column. They range in size from a pinhead to approximately 30 centimeters in diameter.
Dispersants are chemicals that are applied directly to an oil slick. The key components of chemical dispersants are surface active agents called surfactants (also known as detergents). Chemical dispersants assist with breaking up the slick into small droplets ranging in size from a few micrometers to a few millimeters.
An effective way to remove oil from the surface of water is through controlled burning, called in-situ burning. In-situ burning can remove approximately 100 gallons/day/square foot of surface area under ideal conditions. By removing oil from the water surface, we are protecting birds, marine mammals, turtles, and the sensitive Florida coast from the effects of the oil spill.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.