Experience from many incidents has shown that the most costly and time-consuming component of the overall oil spill response is the treatment or disposal of collected waste. As a result, the chosen clean-up strategy should aim to minimise the waste generated.
For many shoreline types and response scenarios, the removal of all traces of oil will be extremely difficult or inadvisable due to environmental or health and safety concerns. As a consequence, it is important that the criteria for deciding when a particular work site is sufficiently clean to allow work to terminate. The criteria for termination of the clean-up are usually discussed jointly and agreed following joint inspections by representatives of the various organisations involved in the response.