The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) yesterday awarded a contract to Mar Inc. for the maintenance and operation of the bureau’s oil spill response research and testing facility, Ohmsett, in Leonardo, NJ. The contract covers up to five years with a total potential value of $8,207,192.
BSEE is the principal federal agency funding offshore oil spill response research, and Ohmsett is key part of the Bureau’s Oil Spill Response Research Program. Many of today’s commercially available oil spill cleanup products have been tested at Ohmsett and a considerable body of performance data and information on mechanical response equipment has been obtained there. This information is used by response planners in reviewing and approving facility response and contingency plans.
“BSEE and the entire federal response community rely on the critical performance testing conducted at our Ohmsett facility. In fact, during my time as the Federal On Scene Coordinator during the Deepwater Horizon response, I found that many of our first responders received training at Ohmsett, and most of the recovery equipment that we used was tested at Ohmsett,” said BSEE Director Jim Watson. “We have the utmost confidence that Mar, Inc. will provide us with the continued technical and administrative support necessary to maintain Ohmsett’s reputation as the finest oil spill response research and test facility in the world.”
Mar Inc. will assist BSEE in facilitating research and testing projects and training programs at Ohmsett in addition to conducting facility repairs and upgrades. This work will help BSEE to continue providing a testing facility that strengthens awareness of oil spill pollution prevention and response methods, while also providing an environmentally-safe place to conduct objective testing.
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 crystal clear salt water. Response equipment can be towed though 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.
Ohmsett is the premier training site for oil spill response personnel. Government agencies including the U.S. Coast Guard and the Navy as well as private industry and oil spill response organizations train their emergency response personnel with real oil and their own full-scale equipment. Some of the testing activities for 2012 have included remote sensing tests, wave energy conversion device tests, skimmer and boom tests, dispersant tests, alternative fuel recovery tests, and industry oil spill response training classes. More than twenty-four countries have conducted tests or training at the Ohmsett facility.
Press Release, July 3, 2012; Image: Ohmsett