Fact Sheet: Boom Maintenance, April 17

Date: Friday, April 17, 2020

2020 Valdez Marine Terminal Admin Sump Incident
Fact Sheet – Boom maintenance

As of Friday morning, more than 21,000 feet of response boom is deployed during this response. This job doesn’t end with boom deployment:

  • A vessel is assigned and tasked to maintain these boom deployments 24 hours a day to inspect the integrity of the boom and ensure maximum efficacy to protect the environment.
    • They check for damaged boom and, if found, replace it.
    • Some booms have air and water chambers, which crews also check regularly to determine if reinflation is needed.
  • Exclusion and containment boom tactics are fixed boom tactics in which boom is deployed and secured in a specific area to either
    • 1) contain and corral spilled oil (containment tactic), or
    • 2) to protect an area from spilled oil (exclusion tactic).
  • Even though boom is set into a fixed position, these booming tactics are dynamic processes that require maintenance as environmental conditions change.
    • For boom that is connected to land, as the tides change, the seal formed against the land must be maintained to ensure there are no gaps that allow oil to enter or escape as the water level rises and falls.
    • Tides and currents also affect the shape of the boom deployment. The ideal deployment shape is a round or horseshoe shape where the rounded boom deflects the current and minimizes potential entrainment (turbulent leakage under the boom) of spilled oil.
    • Vessel crews work to re-anchor boom when bellies or sags form in order to maintain the ideal deployment shape.

For information and updates on the response, visit www.alyeskaresponds.com and the ADEC site at http://dec.alaska.gov/spar/ppr/spill-information/response/2020/02-vmt-sump-oily-water-spill/.

Fact Sheet Boom maintenance April 17