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Chevron to introduce new barrier technology for oil leaks from contaminated land into water

13 July 2017

Oil giant Chevron wants to introduce new technology to contain and clean up petroleum leaking into the Hudson River from its old facilities at the Port of Rensselaer in upstate New York. The company plans to install a so-called ‘oleophilic bio barrier’ (OBB) along 200 feet of Hudson shoreline to contain and gradually break down petroleum that is currently seeping into the river.

Stock image
Stock image

According to the Albany Times Union, Chevron has applied to the Department of Environmental Conservation to carry out the work. Chevron is seeking permits for construction in the river and to cover water quality.

This OBB technology was developed by Chevron with the University of Colorado (UoC) and engineering firm Arcadis. According to the UoC, the OBB holds petroleum until it can be degraded. The open interior of the OBB facilitates delivery of oxygen via periodic inflow of aerobic surface water and atmospheric air, driven by tidal cycles, which promotes biodegradation.

OBB and sediment samples from Rensselaer have been analysed and this data and that from future field studies will determine the efficacy of the technology in preventing hydrocarbon seepage and can be used for improvements to the OBB design.

Other preliminary field demonstrations are also taking place at Maydown, Northern Ireland, and
Portland, Oregon.

In a release, the UoC said it expected this technology to be more effective than existing remediation technologies such as organoclay barriers, sediment caps, and adsorbent booms.


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