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Product Categories under the National Contingency Plan Subpart J

The National Contingency Plan (NCP) Product Schedule includes five types of products which are authorized for use in controlling oil spills. They are defined as below in 40 CFR 300.5 - NCP Definitions.

Bioremediation Agents

Bioremediation agents means microbiological cultures, enzyme additives, or nutrient additives that are deliberately introduced into an oil discharge and that will significantly increase the rate of biodegradation to mitigate the effects of the discharge. (View Product Schedule)

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Dispersants means those chemical agents that emulsify, disperse, or solubilize oil into the water column or promote the surface spreading of oil slicks to facilitate dispersal of the oil into the water column. (View Product Schedule)

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[Note: Sorbents are characterized in the National Contingency Plan Subpart J, but the regulation does not require their inclusion in the NCP Product Schedule. Manufacturers may submit a letter with Confidential Business Information to EPA. They will then receive a letter stating that their product meets the regulatory definition of a sorbent.]

Sorbents means essentially inert and insoluble materials that are used to remove oil and hazardous substances from water. This is done through through adsorption or absorption. In adsorption, the oil or hazardous substance is attracted to the sorbent surface and then adheres to it. In absorption, the oil or hazardous substance penetrates the pores of the sorbent material, or a combination of the two. Sorbents are generally manufactured in particulate form for spreading over an oil slick or as sheets, rolls, pillows, or booms. The sorbent material may consist of, but is not limited to, the following materials:

  1. Organic products —
    1. Peat moss or straw;
    2. Cellulose fibers or cork;
    3. Corn cobs;
    4. Chicken or duck feathers.
  2. Mineral compounds —
    1. Volcanic ash or perlite;
    2. Vermiculite or zeolite.
  3. Synthetic products —
    1. Polypropylene;
    2. Polyethylene;
    3. Polyurethane;
    4. Polyester.

(View Product Schedule)

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Surface Collecting Agents

Surface collecting agents means those chemical agents that form a surface film to control the layer thickness of oil. (View Product Schedule)

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Surface Washing Agents

Surface washing agent is any product that removes oil from solid surfaces. Surface washing agents on surfaces such as beaches and rocks, through a detergency mechanism, and does not involve dispersing or solubilizing the oil into the water column. (View Product Schedule)

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Miscellaneous Oil Spill Control Agents

Miscellaneous oil spill control agent is any product, other than a dispersant, sinking agent, surface collecting agent, bioremediation agent, burning agent, or sorbent that can be used to enhance oil spill cleanup, removal, treatment, or mitigation. (View Product Schedule)

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For more information, see the NRT-RRT Fact Sheet: Application of Sorbents and Solidifiers for Oil Spills (PDF) (6 pp, 534 K, About PDF)