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Research Projects

POLARIS has been at the forefront of research on the fate of stranded oil and shoreline treatment methods for over 25 years. Our scientists have performed field and laboratory research on the role of fine particles in both natural and enhanced weathering of stranded oil including monitoring studies in Prince William Sound, Alaska. POLARIS scientists conducted field studies on the optimization of hydraulic washing techniques for the treatment of oiled coarse sediment beaches on the northwest coast of British Columbia, Canada and completed mesoscale tests to characterize dilbit weathering on brackish water. Our team was integral to the K9 SCAT Program on a major spill and on tests in Prince William Sound to ascertain effectiveness of canines for detecting and delineating recent oil spilled and very old, weathered, sequestered oil. Ongoing research entails development of decision tools and good practices guidance on oiled shoreline treatment options for Canadian and Arctic settings.

Highlighted Projects



Polaris is collaborating with Concordia University (Montreal) and Owens Coastal Consultants to develop improved understanding of processes that attenuate oil off shoreline in the presence of tidal action and in consideration of oil interaction with particulates in the water column. A key objective of the four-year project is to provide decision-makers with the tools to select treatment options for oiled shorelines that include in-situ processes.



Polaris is collaborating with scientists from the University of Manitoba and others at the Experimental Lakes Area (Ontario, Canada) to better understand the fate and effects of dilbit and conventional crude oils stranded on freshwater shorelines and treatment options.

Related Published Work

Owens, EH., TAYLOR, E., Sergy, G., An, C., Chen, Z., Lee, K., 2021. A Review of Response Options to Accelerate the Recovery of Oiled Shorelines. Jour. Environ. Informatics Letters, v. 5(1), p. 1-16.

TAYLOR, E., Owens, E. H., Lee, K., An, C., and Chen, Z., 2021. A Review of Numerical Models for Oil Penetration, Retention, and Attenuation on Shorelines. Jour. Environ. Informatics Letters, v.5(1), p. 27-38.

Owens, EH., TAYLOR, E., Sergy, G., Lee, K., An, C., and Chen, Z., 2021. A Practical Model of the Natural Attenuation of Oil on Shorelines for Decision Support. Jour. Environ. Informatics Letters, v.5(1), p. 48-60.

Palace, V., Peters, L., Berard-Brown, N., Smyth, P., Shanoff, T., Wiseman, G., Tomy, G., Havens, D., Dettman, H., Greer, C., Kajpust, H., Black, T., Hanson, M., Rodriguez Gil, J., TAYLOR, E., 2021. Assessing Monitored Natural Recovery (MNR) for remediating crude oil spills in freshwater environments: The Freshwater Oil Spill Remediation Study (FOReSt) at the Experimental Lakes Area, Canada. In, Proc. International Oil Spill Conference.

Boufadel, M., Geng, X., An, C., Owens, E., Chen, Z., Lee, K., TAYLOR, E., and Prince, R.C., 2019. A Review on the Factors Affecting the Deposition, Retention, and Biodegradation of Oil Stranded on Beaches and Guidelines for Designing Laboratory Experiments. Current Pollution Reports (2019), p. 1-17.

Related Projects

  • American Petroleum Institute: Fate and Environmental Effects of Inland Oil Spills
  • American Petroleum Institute: Shoreline Oil Spill Experiment Design/Permitting
  • Arco Alpine Project: Colville Delta, Alaska, Oil and River Hydrodynamics Studies
  • Arco Transportation: Copper River Delta, Alaska, Oil Transport
  • ConocoPhillips: River and Neearshore Bathymetry and Coastal Currents off the Colville River Delta
  • Environment Canada: Pacific Coast Oil Spill Experiment Design
  • Environment Canada: Hydraulic Washing Optimization
  • Exxon: Bioremediation for Cleanup in Louisiana Coastal Wetlands
  • Exxon: SCAT Resurveys for Persistence of Buried Oil on Shorelines in Prince William Sound
  • Kinder Morgan: Oil Fate and Weathering Experiments
  • Marine Spill Response Corporation: Historical Spill Review
  • Marine Spill Response Corporation: In Situ Burn Guidelines
  • Marine Spill Response Corporation: A Review and Catalog of Shoreline Cleanup Techniques and Equipment