Assessing environmental oil spill based on fluorescence images of water samples and deep learning

Journal of Environmental Informatics
By: , and 



Measuring oil concentration in the aquatic environment is essential for determining the potential exposure, risk, or injury for oil spill response and natural resource damage assessment. Conventional analytical chemistry methods require samples to be collected in the field, shipped, and processed in the laboratory, which is also rather time-consuming, laborious, and costly. For rapid field response immediately after a spill, there is a need to estimate oil concentration in near real time. To make the oil analysis more portable, fast, and cost effective, we developed a plug-and-play device and a deep learning model to assess oil levels in water using fluorescent images of water samples. We constructed a 3D-printed device to collect fluorescent images of solvent-extracted water samples using an iPhone. We prepared approximately 1,300 samples of oil at different concentrations to train and test the deep learning model. The model comprises a convolutional neural network and a novel module of histogram bottleneck block with an attention mechanism to exploit the spectral features found in low-contrast images. This model predicts the oil concentration in weight per volume based on fluorescence image. We devised a confidence interval estimator by combining gradient boosting and polymodal regressor to provide a confidence assessment of our results. Our model achieved sufficient accuracy to predict oil levels for most environmental applications. We plan to improve the device and iPhone application as a near-real-time tool for oil spill responders to measure oil in water.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Assessing environmental oil spill based on fluorescence images of water samples and deep learning
Series title Journal of Environmental Informatics
DOI 10.3808/jei.202300491
Volume 42
Issue 1
Year Published 2023
Language English
Publisher International Society for Environmental Information Sciences
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description 12 p.
First page 1
Last page 12
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