New ASTM Oil Spill Thickness Guide Provides Consistency for Visual Estimations

A new ASTM International standard provides information and criteria for estimating the thickness of oil on water using only visual clues. The standard, F 2534, Guide for Visually Estimating Oil Spill Thickness on Water, was developed by Subcommittee F20.16 on Surveillance and Tracking to provide a consistent means of visual oil spill thickness detection. Subcommittee F20.16 is under the jurisdiction of ASTM International Committee F20 on Hazardous Substances and Oil Spill Response.
“F 2534 was developed because of the high variation in interpretation of existing guides and because there were no international standards covering this topic,” says Merv Fingas, chief, emergencies science and technology division, Environment Canada. Fingas says that the standard will be useful to surveillance personnel, such as coast guard staff and oil spill workers, who are trying to estimate the amount of discharges at sea, as well as to gauge oil thickness for countermeasures and other purposes. Guide F 2534 is applicable for all types of crude oils and most petroleum products under a variety of marine or fresh water conditions.
Fingas notes that all interested parties are welcome to participate in F20.16’s upcoming standards developing activities.

ASTM International standards are available for purchase from Customer Service (phone: 610/832-9585; or at

For further technical information, contact Merv Fingas, Environment Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (phone: 613/998-9622; Committee F20 meets Oct. 24-25, during the October Committee Week in Atlanta, Ga. For membership or meeting information, contact Jeffrey Adkins, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9738;

Release #7443


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