It’s no newsflash that the world is dependent on fossil fuels. While periodic offshore tanker spills and similar large magnitude spills tend to grab media attention and headlines, they are only the tip of the iceberg. Small scale land and inland waterway hydrocarbon spills result, over time, in far more damage to the environment than offshore tanker spills, but they simply fail to draw media attention.
In fact, 85% of the 29 million gallons of petroleum that pollute the North American shoreline every year derive from land-based runoff. Tanker and pipeline spills? Less than 8 percent.
But here’s the thing – when an oil tank ruptures there is no way to cover it up or to overlook the problem. But because land-based runoff aggregates slowly over time, it can often go undetected and unremedied.
However, new sensor technologies can be used to prevent, detect and provide early warning and containment of all types of oil spills, including land based runoff.