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Red Drift Algae Containment Boom

Red Drift Algae Containment Boom

Texas Boom Company was pleased to help facilitate the initial trial for equipment designed to help address the challenges posed by Red Drift Algae in Sanibel, Florida.  Red Drift Algae periodically accumulates along beaches, resulting in littered beaches and unpleasant odors.  This is certainly a deterrent to beach-goers, and detrimental to businesses that depend on beach tourist traffic.  The intent is for this type of equipment to eliminate the presence of this nuisance algae in beach areas that are frequented as recreational and resort areas. 

 

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COVID-19 Update

To our valued customers, we wanted to provide an update on Texas Boom Company relative to the Corona Virus outbreak.  

The entire Texas Boom Company team hopes you, your co-workers, and your families are safe and remain healthy during these uncertain times. We have been working continuously to address the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19. The staff here continues to comply with all Local, State and Federal guidelines to ensure the safety and well being of our employees and the needs of our customers. As a supplier to many Critical Infrastructure Sectors, Texas Boom Company is considered an essential business and will remain operational during this time. Our team is here and ready to serve you and meet the needs of our customers. 

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Differences Between Containment Boom and Silt Curtains

Differences Between Containment Boom and Silt Curtains

Differences between Containment Boom and Turbidity Curtains

To the casual observer, it may be hard to differentiate between a spill containment boom and a turbidity curtain.  They do in fact look similar when deployed in the water and differences can be subtle and hidden below the surface of the water.  Depending on the application, oil spill containment boom can be used as an effective silt barrier when the skirt length required is shorter due to shallow water conditions.   In the image shown below, a spill containment boom has been deployed to serve as a turbidity curtain. 

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Spill Containment Boom Manufacturer

Spill Containment Boom Manufacturer

Texas Boom Company is a manufacturer of oil spill containment boom, silt curtains, turbidity barriers, secondary containment berms, and collapsible fabric bladder tanks.  In addition, Texas Boom Company offers custom fabrication of products constructed of industrial-grade fabrics.  These fabrics are typically vinyl-coated fabrics or urethane fabrics.  All manufacturing is performed in our Houston, Texas facility by our team highly skilled craftsmen.  TBC has been manufacturing these products since 1986, and we stand behind our work.  

Manufacturing these products requires a number of processes.  As an example, to manufacture oil spill containment boom, there are a number of steps involved to deliver a durable, well-built product.   High-quality closed-cell foam in sheet form is rolled into logs or cut to length from extruded foam logs.  PVC coated fabric is cut to width in roll form and either RF welded or heat sealed to form the appropriate foam chambers, seams, skirts, tension cable pockets, and ballast chain pockets.  Aluminum end connectors are cut to length, drilled with mounting holes and connector pinholes and assembled onto the booms with stainless steel nuts and bolts.  Coated tension cables are strung through pockets and secured with shackles to the end connector extrusions.  Ballast chains are added to pockets on the bottom of the containment boom skirts.  Adding brand labels to the containment boom is the final step before the sections are folded and bundled, and then palletized. 

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Boom and Sorbents at the Ready

Boom and Sorbents at the Ready

When a call comes in as the result of an active spill, office hours don't much matter.  Texas Boom Company stands at the ready to equip companies to quickly and effectively respond to oil spills.  The most recent example occurred when a leaking wellhead was identified in Tabbs Bay near Baytown, TX.  The exact source of the leak was unknown, so each of the companies that potential own the wellhead responded quickly.  TBC was asked to provide conventional oil spill containment boom and sorbents and responded by getting a trailer loaded in short order.  Our company also worked to provide additional sorbent boom the following day and consulted on deployment as well.  The goal at TBC is to have inventory at the ready for just such a need and to provide the knowledge needed to effectively deploy the products.  

While we hate to hear of any spill, we take pride in knowing that our products are used to mitigate the damage that results from any spill.  Containment boom keeps the oil from spreading.  Sorbent boom adsorbs the oil without taking on the water.  Oil skimmers collect the oil without intaking the water.  These three primary components are all be used in conjunction to reduce the environmental impact until the oil can be recovered and the shoreline cleaned.  It's not a perfect system, but it serves a tried and true means to lessen the damage caused by any spill.  

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Advantages of Pillow Tanks

Advantages of Pillow Tanks

Pillow tanks are collapsible fabric tanks that resemble a pillow when filled.  These type bladder tanks are made by welding or sealing durable fabric around all four sides and adding valves for filling, emptying and pressure relief.  

 

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Floating Sargassum Barriers

Floating Sargassum Barriers

Over the last few years, beachgoers have been faced with the awful sights and smell of stinking seaweed washing up on the shorelines.  Conditions have been perfect for the massive growth of Sargassum, the aquatic vegetation that continues to pile up on beaches throughout the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.  The staffs at resorts and hotels work tirelessly to keep their beaches clean and attractive for guests.  Many rely on using heavy equipment to clear the beaches daily of the Sargassum piling up on the sand.   The task is required to be performed continuously when large mats of the seaweed arrive.

Sargassum isn’t all bad.  Offshore, it can provide excellent habitat for sea turtles, crabs, fish, and other sea creatures.  Onshore, it’s a different story.  No one likes the feel of seaweed against their bodies while trying to enjoy the ocean.  As Sargassum piles up on the beach, it creates a handful of problems.  In addition to being unsightly, it also begins to decay onshore.  As it rots, it attracts insects and produces hydrogen sulfide.  Hydrogen sulfide is the same gas that gives rotten eggs their sulfurous smell and can cause breathing problems for beachgoers and boaters with asthma.  Scientists predict that the current trend of massive Sargassum floats to continue for the foreseeable future.   The Sargassum growth is tentatively linked to rising levels of nutrients in the seawater, including nitrogen and phosphorus.

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Texas Boom Sponsors Wreaths Across America

Texas Boom Sponsors Wreaths Across America

For the second consecutive year, Texas Boom Company is proud to provide sponsorship for Wreaths Across America.  This outstanding organization aims to achieve three primary goals:

  • REMEMBER our fallen US Veterans
  • HONOR those who serve
  • TEACH your children the value of freedom

This is in part accomplished by laying holiday wreaths at every gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery, as well as over 1600 other locations around the country and abroad.  There are a few ways you can help with this worthy cause.  Saturday, December 14, 2019, is National Wreaths Across America Day.  You can volunteer to help at one of the many locations with the placement of the wreaths at the gravesite of fallen veterans.  You can also donate to help fund the purchase of the wreaths for placement.  Your donations can be either to the national program or targeted to a local cemetery.  Either way, you are helping with a worthy cause.  Please consider participating in this important program.  

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Spill Boom Deployment Around a Capsized Ship

Spill Boom Deployment Around a Capsized Ship

Ship wrecks are an unfortunate reality in the ever expanding global marketplace.  Weather, inexperienced or inattentive crews, and equipment failures can all be contributing factors.  When ships do sink, capsize, or run aground, and immediate concern is the likliehood of the escape of oil, fuel, and other hydrocarbons that can have a negative impact on the environment.  The damage that can be done to local wildlife, fisheries, and the ecosystem can be far reaching.  In addition, we have seen numerous examples of the damage spills can do to people who are impacted; fisheries, tourism, transportation, and recreation are just a few examples.  

A recent occurence of another shipping accident was the capsizing of the Palau-registered Queen Hinda livestock transport departing Romania in route to Saudi Arabia on Novemeber 24.  The crew of 30 was rescued, along with a small number of sheep that were being exported.  Tragically, over 14,000 sheep died as the result of this ship overturning shortly after leaving port. 

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Silt Curtains for Storm Drain Runoff

Silt Curtains for Storm Drain Runoff

Turbidity curtains, also referred to as silt curtains, offer a means to keep suspended particles from vacating the immediate area in a body of water.  The curtains hang from floats down into the water and impede the flow of the turbidity or silt.  Over time, the suspended sediment settles back to the bottom.  These floating curtains can be made from solid fabrics that impede all flow of water, or built using a geotextile mesh  fabric that allows water to flow through while still blocking the silt or other particles from escaping. 

One application for turbidity curtains is to contain runoff from storm drain or pump station discharge points.  These are typically exit points for storm drains systems that provide drainage from developed urban areas in order to prevent or minimize flooding.  Because the water is collected from public streets and other areas, the water is prone to wash away trash, dirt, and other debris.  Instead of simply dumping this water into waterways, the systems may run the water through filtering processes to remove garbage and larger debris.  However, these filters may not capture all of the materials suspended in the water. 

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250 Gallon Fuel Bladders for US Army

250 Gallon Fuel Bladders for US Army

Texas Boom Company just completed fabrication of a large order of 250 gallon fuel bladders headed for use by the US Army.  These durable fuel bladders are constructed with fuel grade encapsulated Urethane fabric that is designed with this specific application in mind.  The tank seams are welded, meaning the seams offer the same strength as the fabric itself.   

 

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Water Hyacinth Removal Project

Water Hyacinth Removal Project

Cattail Marsh is a 900 acre wildlife area located in Beaumont, Texas.  This marsh is located adjacent to Tyrrell Park and serves as a component of the waste water filtration system for the city.  The marsh features a 520 foot boardwalk that was installed in 2016 at a cost of $285,000.  Cattail Marsh and the surrounding area support a wide variety of local wildlife and is a popular bird watching site. 

As is common in many bodies of water in the area, Water Hyacinth has taken root and spread rapidly across the entire marsh.  Water Hyacinth is an invasive plant species that is recognized as one of the fastest growing plant species in the world.  The plants primary means of reproduction are runners that eventually form sister plants.  It also produces large volumes of seeds that remain viable for up to 30 years.  Because of its ability to rapidly reproduce, coverage areas can double in periods as quickly as two weeks.  

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Boating Near Dredging Projects

Boating Near Dredging Projects

Every day there are countless ongoing dredging and marine construction projects ongoing across the United States.  These marine projects are driven by the need for repairs, development, and shoaling.  These work zones typically require equipment and operations to be ongoing in waterways that are normally navigated by boat traffic.  As these projects are executed, safety hazards can often arise not only for the workers themselves, but also for anyone on a boat in the area.  

 

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Sorbent Boom Deployed at Crash Site

Sorbent Boom Deployed at Crash Site

On October 17, a small commuter plane carrying 42 people skidded off the runway in Unalaska, Alaska.  Unalaska is located in the Aleutian Islands and is home to Dutch Harbor, one of the busiest US fishing ports and a frequent point of reference on the popular Discovery Network TV show "Deadliest Catch."  Two people were critically injured while 10 others required medical care.  Amongst the passengers was a high school swim team.  No one on the swim team was injured.  

 

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Dredging Projects Using TBC Silt Curtains

Dredging Projects Using TBC Silt Curtains

Texas Boom Company has produced a number of silt curtains recently from dredging projects across the US.  As you would expect, as a dredging operation takes place, mud and sand are stirred into the adjacent water.  This material remains suspended in the water until it washes away or settles back to the bottom.  Dredgers use floating silt curtains (turbidity curtains) to keep silk and sediment from migrating while suspended.  This helps to avoid muddying local waterways during the dredging process.  Whether used to meet regulatory requirements or simply as a courtesy to others, silt curtains are effective in helping to reduce sediment runoff. 

Three recent projects are highlighted below, selected because our customers were kind enough to share pictures of the silt curtains in use.  

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Ocean Cleanup Trash Collection Boom

Ocean Cleanup Trash Collection Boom

The Ocean Cleanup project has launched its second attempt at using a boom system to remove plastic from the world’s oceans.  Last year, the initial design was launched, including the use of a 2000 foot boom to capture floating plastic in the Pacific.  The target is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch located midway between Hawaii and California.   The initial design was launched in September of 2018, but by January, a section of the boom had become disconnected.  In addition, there were issues with the inconsistent speed of how the boom traveled relative to the floating trash. 

The team at The Ocean Cleanup went back to the drawing board to tackle some of the design issues.  Instead of “chasing” the debris, the new design allows for the track to float into the U-shaped boom which is slowed by a large sea anchor.  The boom system was broken down into segments, allowing it to be serviced at sea instead of requiring a tow back to San Francisco.  In addition, the boom size was scaled back to make it feasible for the entire system to be towed at a much higher speed.  Finally, the collection boom and curtain combination has been moved forward of the main boom floatation, reducing structural stress on the overall system. 

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Golden Ray Spill Clean-Up Continues

Golden Ray Spill Clean-Up Continues

On the early morning of September 8, the MV Golden Ray capsized off the coast of Brunswick, GA in St Simon Sound, approximately 80 miles south of Savannah.  The exact cause of the accident has not been finally determined.  Initially, four of the twenty-four individuals on board were trapped.  They were subsequently rescued safely.  However, the ongoing environmental hazards continue now over a month later. 

Fuel and oil continue to leak from the vessel.  When the accident occurred, the ship contained roughly 300,000 gallons within its tanks.  To date, 220,000 gallons have been successfully pumped off.  Unfortunately, there have been ongoing oil slicks located in the area, as well as oil coating the plant life along shorelines.  Thousands of feet of oil spill containment boom have been deployed in the area to control the spread of the hydrocarbons and protect the shorelines.

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Custom Fabrication

Custom Fabrication

The skilled craftsmen at Texas Boom Company have quite a bit of experience fabricating coated fabric products to exact customer specifications.  These custom products are sometimes based on existing product designs, while other times they are completely unrelated to TBC's core business.  Regardless, we offer our customers the ability to receive a product that meets their exact needs.

Recently, Texas Boom Company tackled a project to produce a custom-designed inflatable boom product.  These 8-inch diameter inflatable booms were intended to provide flotation for a very specific application.  These custom booms also required the addition of retention loops to serve as guides for this particular use.  Because these booms are inflatable, you can see they require less space to transport and store when not inflated.  Use of a leaf blower or an air compressor can quickly transform these from flat pockets to fully inflated floats.  

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Rainwater Bladder Tank Headed to Haiti

Rainwater Bladder Tank Headed to Haiti

Bladder Tanks (also referred to as Pillow Tanks) offer users a wide range of applications and flexibility.  Because they can be compressed and rolled or folded when empty, the tanks can more readily be moved and set up in remote locations. Collapsed, the bladders require only a fraction of the space to store. Made of coated fabric, the weight of the material is also typically less than that used in rigid tanks, also making the bladder tanks easier to move.  While the fabric used is very durable, these type tanks are subject to abrasions and tears, so care must be taken during storage, deployment, and use.  When bladder tanks are deployed on rough surfaces, a liner is recommended below the bladder to help reduce wear.  While not suitable for every application, these bladder tanks offer great utility to end-users.  

 

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Hurricane Induced Spill Highlights Need to be Prepared

Hurricane Induced Spill Highlights Need to be Prepared

As the recovery in the Bahamas continues following the damage caused by Hurricane Dorian, it offers a lesson in the value of preparedness.  Companies and governments around the globe work to balance the expense and efforts to plan for all contingencies against the threat of a wide variety of disasters and the resulting damage.  With regard to oil spills, there is no doubt that the damage can vast and extensive.  It highlights the need to have oil spill response equipment on-site and ready for immediate deployment.  Waiting to bring oil spill containment boom, oil skimmers, and other equipment in after the fact, especially when infrastructure may be damaged and access severely limited can often compound an already serious problem.  The sooner the equipment is deployed after a spill, the more effective the containment and recovery efforts will be.   

Photo Credit:  Ramon Espinosa/AP

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