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PETROLEUM FINGERPRINTING ALLOWS SCIENTISTS TO DETERMINE ORIGINS OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

 DUXBURY, Mass., June 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Battelle researchers have developed a technique to determine the origins of oil-based hazardous waste, even decades after a spill occurred.
 Greg Douglas, a researcher at Battelle's Ocean Sciences Laboratory in Duxbury, Mass., said the method of fingerprinting petroleum hydrocarbons will enable responsible parties to pinpoint the source of an oil spill, even if other companies have occupied the same site.
 "We have the ability to identify fingerprints in hydrocarbons, even after advanced degradation," Douglas said. "Weathering is going to change most components, and traditionally that has made it difficult to identify a substance over time.
 "But, by doing trace-level analysis, we have been able to identify oil by searching for target compounds that are very resistant to degradation."
 Douglas said most methods of analyzing spilled petroleum are not sensitive enough to identify the source of older spills. For example, if several companies contaminated a site with multiple petroleum products over a 20-year period, identifying a specific product spilled in the area would be almost impossible using traditional methods.
 However, by using Battelle's identification method, researchers can identify an oil-based material by identifying specific target compounds, which, like human fingerprints, are distinct in each material.
 "The trick," Douglas said, "is knowing oil well enough to know which compounds will tell a story over time."
 Douglas said the technique can be used in such areas as:
 -- Identifying the source of an oil spill on land or sea.
 -- Evaluating groundwater and soil at Superfund Sites.
 -- Studying effluents in ports and harbors.
 -- Evaluating the effectiveness of nutrient-enhanced biodegradation
 following an oil spill.
 For more information, contact Greg Douglas, Battelle, 397 Washington St., Duxbury, Mass. 02332; telephone 617-934-0571; telefax 617-934-2124.
 Battelle serves industry and government by developing, commercializing, and managing technology. With a wide range of scientific and technical capabilities, Battelle puts technology to work for clients in 30 countries.
 -0- 6/18/93
 /CONTACT: Greg Douglas of Battelle, 617-934-0571, or by fax, 617-934-2124/


CO: Battelle ST: Massachusetts, Ohio IN: CHM OIL SU: PDT

BM -- CL003 -- 3417 06/18/93 08:02 EDT
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Date:Jun 18, 1993
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