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Annual analysis of pollutant spills:
inland waters

imprimer

The analyses presented have been produced from an inventory of spills:

  • known to Cedre (non-exhaustive list)
  • having occurred worldwide
  • in marine or fresh surface waters
  • involving oil, hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) and other products, solid cargos (minerals, grain), liquid cargos (slurry...).

Cases of spills greater than or equal to 10 tonnes, for which sufficient information was available for statistical analysis, were extracted from this inventory for the purpose of this analysis.


1. Proportion of spills by source


In 2007, 33 significant spills were identified in inland waters. Pipelines were the most frequent source (34%), followed by various storage facilities and vessels, in the case of respectively 21% and 15% of spills.
Three sources of spills were involved in 6% of incidents in 2007: tanker trucks, wells and petrochemical plants. All together, plants (chemical and other) were responsible for 9% of incidents
Four other sources of pollution were identified, but with low frequency (less than 3% of cases).


In 2008, 22 significant spills were identified. Various storage facilities were the most frequent source of spills (26%), followed by pipelines which caused around 22% of spills. Two sources were involved respectively in 12% and 10% of spills in 2008: tanker trucks and internal pipes at various on land facilities. Vessels were the source of 8% of incidents.
Only a small proportion of spills (6%) were attributable to various plants and the 6 other sources of pollution listed appear with a low frequency (2 to 4% of incidents).


In 2009, 53 significant spills were identified. Pipelines were the most frequent source of spills (26%), which is consistent with observations in previous years. This was followed by tanker trunks and vessels, involved respectively in around 19% and 15% of cases. Two sources of spills were involved in respectively 11 % and 9% of incidents in 2009: internal pipes and storage facilities.
Oil production wells were the cause of 6% of incidents; the proportion of spills from the other sources listed in 2009 was low (2 to 4%).

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2. Quantity spilt by source


The spills reported in 2007 totalled around 5,350 tonnes of pollutants. We note that no figures were able to be identified in the case of an incident described as significant and the exact volume spilt is not always known or provided for other incidents. The major contribution (almost 50%) of pipelines to the total quantity in 2007 is worthy of note, whereby the most significant spills occurred in North America and Mexico.
Wells held second position, responsible for 18% of the total volume spilt (with 2 major events).
Vessels constituted the third source of pollutant, with around 800 tonnes spilt. Storage facilities contributed to 8% of the total volume spilt. The other sources of pollution contributing to over 1 to 2% of the volume spilt in 2007 were plants and tank wagons.


The total quantity of pollutants spilt in inland waters in 2008 was around 9,500 tonnes (minimum estimation due to a lack of detailed data for a few incidents). We note the major contribution of spills from pipelines (64% of total tonnage), the largest of which occurred in Nigeria and the United States.
Vessels held second position, responsible for around 16% of the total volume (of which 70% was due to a collision between an oil barge and a chemical tanker in the US). Storage facilities and internal pipes came next, with respectively 6 to 7% of the total. Tank wagons contributed to 3 % of the total volume spilt. The other noteworthy sources of pollution, responsible for over 100 tonnes in 2008, were tanker trucks and unspecified internal refinery facilities.

Contents

1. Proportion of spills by source 2007 - 2008 - 2009
2. Quantity spilt by source 2007 - 2008 - 2009
3. Quantity spilt by pollutant 2007 - 2008 - 2009











In 2009, an estimated quantity of around 22,360 tonnes of oil and other hazardous substances was spilt in inland waters (minimum estimation due to a lack of detailed data for a few incidents, for instance the pollution of the Tigre River following the rupture of a pipeline in Iraq.
We note the major contribution of pipelines (50%) to the total spilt, with the largest spills occurring in Russia, Ecuador and France. Wells were also responsible for a large proportion of the total volume (around 47%, of which 99% was due to a single incident, involving a well in Nigeria).
The other structures identified only resulted in a very small proportion of the volume spilt in 2009. Internal pipes, storage facilities, tanker trucks and vessels each contributed to around 1%.

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3. Quantity spilt by pollutant

2007

The 5,350 tonnes of pollutants spilt in 2007 were largely dominated by oil (80% of total). Among these substances, the most present were crude oils (70% of total), spilt in 11 incidents, of which the largest (several hundred tonnes) were from pipelines in the Americas and wells in the Russian Far East.
Thereafter, in decreasing order of their contribution to the total volume, we find unspecified oil (7%) and diesel (2%). These are followed by cumene, bitumen emulsions, kerosene and bunker fuels (each representing less than 1% of the total). In 2007, a specific incident involving fly ash due to a single spill in India held second place (13%). The other products listed are various chemicals, dominated by 150 tonnes of sulphuric acid spilt in a single accident in Ontario, and finally organic substances (in particular slurry).

2008

The vast majority of pollutants spilt in 2008 were oils (around 95% of the total, i.e. nearly 9,000 tonnes). Crude oils were the most common (around 68% of the total), spilt during 18 incidents, of which the largest occurred in Nigeria (several thousand tonnes), the US and Ecuador.
This was followed, in decreasing order of volume, by intermediate to heavy fuel oils (20%) and white oils (6%). Vegetable oils represented 2% of the total volume (mainly soybean oil, spilt following the derailing of a tank wagon in the US in September). The other products listed include various chemicals, representing around 3% of the total, among which acids and liquid fertilisers accounted for around 1%.

2009

The quantities spilt in 2009 were largely dominated by oil (around 99% of the total). Among oil spills, crude oils were the most common (around 96% of total volume), spilt in 15 incidents, of which the largest (several thousand tonnes) were three cases involving pipelines and 1involving a well. Thereafter, in decreasing order of their contribution to the total volume, were intermediate to heavy fuel oils and white oils, for which the quantities were far lower (around 1%). The other substances spilt, whether oil products (bitumen, coal tar) or other products (chemicals, organic substances…), made only a very small contribution to the volume spilt in 2009 (< 0.5 %). Among the chemicals involved, acids were the most prevalent, although they represented only a small proportion (< 1 %) of the total volume.

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Last update: 18/05/2011

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