Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela has been severely polluted since oil was discovered in the area in the 1920s. In 1995 alone more than 23 separate oil spills dumped 63,000 barrels of oil into the Lake Maracaibo Basin. This is an extreme example. Leesville Lake in the Ohio was polluted when 80 to 100 gallons of heating oil spilled into it, but soon afterward was declared safe by the EPA. It doesn’t take much oil at all to damage wildlife and the entire ecosystem. In a big bowl of water, with an eye dropper, spill only a few drops and watch the entire surface change.
Oil on water will always spread out to one molecule thickness over the top of the water first. This is why an effective mosquito trap for your home water feature is a bit of olive oil on the surface: it will spread out and prevent mosquito larvae from breathing.
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