Ecological Risk Analysis: Petroleum-Contaminated Sites and the associated environmental risks
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Petroleum-Contaminated Sites and the associated
environmental risks


Oak Ridge National Laboratory has two principal projects related to ecological risk assessment of petroleum-contaminated sites.

  1. Improving Tools and Methods for Ecological Risk Assessment at Petroleum-contaminated Sites.

    Working with the Petroleum Environmental Research Forum, we are developing tools and methods for improving ecological risk assessments at refinery or landfarm sites. Tasks include: improving Net Environmental Benefit Analysis methodology, developing plant uptake models for inorganic chemical contaminants in soil, developing a corridor analysis tool for risk assessment of wildlife, and reviewing toxicity values for plants and soil invertebrates.

  2. An Ecological Framework to Evaluate Impacts of Petroleum Exploration & Production (E&P) Sites.

    Working with collaborators at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory through the Natural Gas and Oil Technology Partnership Program, we are developing spatially-explicit methods for assessing risk at E&P sites. At some spatial scales and for some vertebrates and plant communities, the patchiness of habitat may be more important for survival than toxicity of contaminants. One of the project objectives is to determine "early exit criteria," or characteristics of former exploration & production sites that allow petroleum companies to exit without extensive risk assessments or remedial actions. Individual-based and trophic modeling are being utilized in the ecological framework. The first study site is the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Oklahoma. The project web site below includes maps and publications.

This work is funded by the National Petroleum Technology Office of the U. S. Department of Energy.


See project web site.


Managing Ecological Impacts at Exploration and Production Sites - project web site Ecological Framework to Evaluate Impacts of Petroleum Exploration & Production (E&P) Sites project. Includes maps and reports.

Natural Gas and Oil Technology Partnership (NGOTP) Program

Petroleum Environmental Research Forum (PERF)

Tallgrass Prairie Preserve

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Comments or requests for more information should be sent to Rebecca Efroymson (
Last Updated: February 26, 2003

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