High-Ranking Officials Visit Oil Spill Research Testing Facility
Kevin Sligh Sr, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), welcomed Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Mineral Management Laura Daniel-Davis and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Mineral Management Kathryn Kovacs to Ohmsett, the National Oil Spill Response Research and Renewable Energy Test Facility, today.
Government agencies such as the U.S. Coast Guard and the Navy, international partners, academic researchers, private industry, and oil spill response organizations use Ohmsett to conduct oil spill research, test new response tactics and technologies, and train emergency response personnel with actual oil and equipment in realistic conditions.
“If an oil spill occurs, we need the ability to be nimble and innovative. The Biden-Harris administration is committed to using the best available science to help protect the coastal communities and habitats most impacted by spills, and Ohmsett is positioned to continue playing a leading role in that work,” said Daniel-Davis.
“Ohmsett is the nation’s premier research and training site for offshore oil spill response,” explained Sligh. “The world’s offshore oil spill response community relies on Ohmsett for critical performance testing and training.”
Since the Department of the Interior acquired Ohmsett in 1990, research activities have included remote sensing tests, wave energy conversion device tests, skimmer and boom tests, dispersant tests, and alternative fuel recovery tests. Additionally, more than 24 countries have conducted tests or training at the Ohmsett facility.
Ohmsett's above ground concrete test tank is one of the largest of its kind. Three movable bridges span the 667 feet long, 65 feet wide, and 11 feet deep tank filled with 2.6 million gallons of salt water. Response equipment can be towed through the water at speeds of up to 6.5 knots, simulating actual deployment at sea. The tank’s wave generator creates realistic sea environments by producing different wave types of up to 3 feet high while state-of-the-art data collection and video systems record test results. In addition to the pool, Ohmsett includes a fully equipped machine shop, chemistry laboratory, and 50-seat training facility.
BSEE is the principal federal agency funding offshore oil spill response research, and operating Ohmsett is one of three critical roles the Bureau’s Oil Spill Preparedness Program fulfills. Many of today’s commercially available oil spill cleanup technologies and products were tested at Ohmsett. BSEE and other agencies use the scientific data collected at Ohmsett to inform the development of new policies and approvals of oil spill contingency plans.
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