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One Year After Gulf Oil Spill, ARA Technology Plays Key Cleanup Role

May 2011
ARA's LVUV Illuminator on CBS Evening News

More than one year ago, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and resulted in more than 200 million gallons of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. The leak was stopped nearly three months later, but the cleanup continues with help from ARA's Low Voltage Ultraviolet (LVUV) illuminator.

The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric recently featured scientists from Louisiana State University employing a portable LVUV illuminator to detect aromatic hydrocarbon contaminants in and around the Gulf's waters. The LVUV is a handheld system adapted from ARA's Fuel Fluorescence Detection (FFD) technology developed by its Vertek Division in Vermont. Much of the oil and tar that contaminates beaches cannot be seen, even in full sunlight. 

The LVUV is designed to efficiently excite a signature orange fluorescent "glow" from trace amounts of crude oil in the water and on shore. Deposited tar balls, often partially covered by sand, glow bright orange and yellow under the powerful LVUV illuminator and are easily observed at night. By using the LVUV, scientists and cleanup crews are able to discriminate crude oil, heavy petroleum products and other related contaminants from sand, mud, sea life and saltwater.

The LVUV provides real-time contamination detection, making it possible to monitor the effectiveness of cleanup efforts and make immediate decisions regarding cleanup strategies and methods.

Find out more about Vertek's LVUV and other UV technologies.