On April 20, 2010 the Transocean drilling rig, Deepwater Horizon, exploded. Over time this event became the largest oil spill in US history.
Elastec/American Marine was contacted on the morning of April 26th with a request for Hydro-Fire® Boom. While all the resources and options were being gathered and assessed for managing the response, the U.S. Coast Guard announced it would conduct a test using fire resistant boom to burn the oil floating on the water's surface. The boom they selected was the Hydro-Fire® Boom, manufactured by Elastec/American Marine, which yielded a successful test. Subsequently, BP & the Coast Guard authorized controlled burning as a response tool.
This is the first time that the technique of burning oil on water in a large scale incident has been proven - reducing the impact on the shoreline and sensitive ecosystem of the Gulf coast. By the time the well was capped a record 411 burns were conducted with some lasting up to 12 hours in duration. On the 18th of June alone, an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 barrels of oil were removed from the marine environment according to official estimates. 219,000 to 309,000 barrels of oil in total are estimated to have been consumed in these controlled burns.
A new report* shows that our Hydro-Fire® Boom and our American Fireboom were the most durable and were responsible for removing the most oil per system . "The Hydro-Fire® Boom systems maintained a high level of containment integrity for extended periods of time. These systems endured some of the longest and largest burns experienced."
Our water cooled Hydro-Fire® Boom had the longest burn on record (11 hours 48 minutes), closely followed by American Fireboom (11 hours 21 mins). Each system on average burned 5,000 barrels and 3,900 barrels respectively (max). This is three times better than any other fire boom reported.
The Environmental Protection Agency, stationed with burn teams, conducted studies that showed the smoke was not toxic as it appeared. While the smoke looked quite ominous, it was nothing more than a temporary side effect to solving a larger problem. There was no more environmental impact incurring with the burns than if the oil had been processed and used in its intended purpose. In addition to supporting the controlled burning Elastec/American Marine supplied approximately 180 skimmers and 100 miles of containment boom to assist BP and other responders in their cleanup efforts.
A second report** release by the US Coast Guard cited a number of lessons learned including; "ISB (In-Situ Burning) operations during the Deepwater Horizon incident demonstrated the capability of this important response tool.
ISB can be very effective in an oil spill response when the conditions are supportive of the technology. ISB effectiveness generally decreases with the oil's weathering and/or emulsification, although ISB has been successfully used on a wide range of weathered oils. There was never an issue for the ISB Team to find fresh, burnable oil during this response."
* BP America "Fire Boom Performance Evaluation" November 2010
** USCG "Final Action Memorandum - Incident Specific Preparedness Review (ISP Deepwater
Horizon Oil Spill. 18 March 2011"
Elastec/American Marine manufactures a full range of oil spill response equipment including booms, skimmers, vacuum systems, pumps, dispersant systems, boats and specialized vehicles. For more information contact Elastec/American Marine firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website - www.elastec.com
926 County Road 1350N, Carmi, IL 62821, USA
Tel: (618) 382 2525 Fax: (618) 382 3610
Web Page: www.elastec.com