Houston Ship Channel Collision

A collision between a tanker and two barges occurred in the Houston Ship Channel on Friday, May 10, 2019.  The tanker collided with one of the barges, resulting in the second barge capsizing.  The barge damage resulted in a spill of 9000 gallons of flammable material called reformate, which is a gasoline blend.  Six oil skimmers have recovered 376 barrels of product-water mixture.  More than 20,000 feet of spill containment boom was deployed to contain the spill and help protect vulnerable areas.  Salvage teams have secured the two barges and all remaining product has been removed from the damaged barges.  The spill has resulted in some wildlife and fish deaths, and seafood warning was issued by the Texas Department of Health.  Air quality tests in the area have resulted in no actionable levels.  The Galveston Bay Foundation will continue to take water samples for testing.  At this time, the Houston Ship Channel has resumed full operation. 

 

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Inflatable Silt Curtains

At Texas Boom Company, we stock a wide range of products that meet the needs of many of our customers.  We develop these core lines of containment boom, silt curtains, and secondary containment berms based on a long history of fabricating these type products per the specifications of our clientele.  TBC has also learned along the way that many of our customers have a unique need that isn’t necessarily addressed by one of our off-the-shelf solutions. 

A recent example includes a new customer who is looking to use silt curtains to help manage the flow of algae and had a few criteria that were important to him as he looked to purchase silt curtains.  His first requirement was a durable fabric that would hold up over repeated use.  He planned to deploy, retrieve and store the silt curtains daily, and he wanted a longer-life silt curtain that would hold up to frequent use. 

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Containment Boom Used In Aquaculture

Texas Boom Company isn’t the biggest fish in the pond amongst containment boom manufacturers.  However, we are quite adept at working with customers to devised customized solutions to meet their needs and tackle problems.  Recently, TBC landed a call from the owner of a Texas-based fish farming operation.  His recently established 135-acre Redfish (Red Drum) farm is located near Port Lavaca, Texas.  This aquaculture (sometimes referred to as mariculture) operation raises fish that are harvested and sold to restaurants and grocery stores.   Aquaculture is an expanding field, and operating techniques are perpetually evolving. 

The challenge at hand was to utilize a containment boom to address a combination of problems.  When feed was being distributed into the water for the fish to eat, several issues were arising.  It was a common occurrence for the wind to push the floating fish feed to shore before it was consumed by the fish.  As the fish approached the shoreline, it increased their exposure to wading birds that lurked at the side of the fish ponds waiting to prey on the fish.  In addition, the fish food that was not consumed would end up on the shoreline, attracting more birds, and worse yet, wild hogs.  Wild hogs are well known to destroy all sorts of terrain, including the banks of these fish ponds.  Each of these issues translates into unwanted expenses and losses for anyone involved in aquaculture. 

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Small Boom with Big Impact

Bigger isn't always better.  Sometimes our customers need a custom sized boom to meet a specific purpose.  Depending on the application and conditions, smaller containment boom can be even more effective than larger sized models.  We will profile this particular application in more detail upon completion of the installation, but we wanted to highlight Texas Boom Company's ability to deliver products to a customer's exact specifications.  

In this particular case, a three inch freeboard is combined with a three inch draft to form a containment boom with six inches of total height.  The customer also requested the boom in all black fabric.  Because of the smaller size and installation, the customer also requested no connectors, making this particular product a hybrid between a conventional containment boom and a Type I turbidity curtain.  The sections of custom containment boom are attached with stainless steel nuts and bolts and galvanized shackles.  The shackles provide sturdy anchor points on the boom as well as attaching the sections together at the bottom pair of grommets.  

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Cooler Giveaway Winner - Brendan Crotty

At the conclusion of the 2019 Clean Waterways Conference and Expo, Texas Boom Company selected a winner via a random drawing from all those who submitted a free entry at our booth.  The winner was  Brendan Crotty, who has served almost 4 years in the US Coast Guard and has earned the rank of MST3.  Brendan is stationed in Memphis, TN. Marine Science Technicians focus on marine environmental protection for the USCG. He was excited to win and we thank him for his service to our country. TBC also appreciates all the others who stopped by and entered the drawing.

Our next drawing will be held at the upcoming WEDA Dredging Summit in Chicago June 4-7.  Stop by booth #30 to see us and drop a business card in to win one of these great soft-sided coolers.  

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TBC Proud Sponsor of 2019 Clean Waterways

Texas Boom Company is a proud sponsor of the 2019 Clean Waterways Conference and Exhibition at the Hyatt Regency in Cincinnati, OH Apr 16-18.  By supporting this type event, Texas Boom Company helps to support industry partners across various sectors.  It also puts TBC in very good company, joining many recognizable players in the spill prevention and response industry.  Texas Boom Company is also the only Oil Spill Containment Boom manufacturer sponsoring this event.  

 

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TBC Exhibiting at Clean Waterways 2019

Texas Boom Company is Exhibiting at CLEAN WATERWAYS - Come Visit Us at Booth #502

 

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Containment Boom & Turbidity Curtain Storage

For busy contractors, staging and deploying containment boom or turbidity curtains is one small part of a much larger and more hectic schedule.  The pipeline, roadway, bridge, or bulkhead has to be completed on time.  Staging it to be ready when the time comes to put the boom or silt curtain into position is more about timing than optimizing storage or prolonging the life of the products.  The containment boom or silt curtain is made to be used outside in difficult condition, so what's the difference?  Many times the longevity of the product is the least of anyone's concerns in the heat of the moment.  Does the image below look familiar?  

 

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191 Hits

Oil Spill Boom - Beach Staking Technique

Oil spill containment boom is deployed in a wide range of applications.  As such, the containment boom is typically held in place either by anchor systems or by attaching the containment boom to a fixed point on shore.  In this article, we will discuss a particular technique for using beach stakes to hold the oil spill containment boom in place.

In some scenarios, there are permanent structures or pilings that serve as stable anchor points for containment boom.  These can range from docks, piers, pilings, posts, poles or other permanent objects that offer enough strength and stability to hold the containment boom in place.  Factors to consider when assessing the strength required include tides, current, and winds.  Another option is to utilize anchors on land, which allows them to be placed and ensure their security.  This is typically an option used only if the placement is temporary and anchor kits are on hand, as this is a more costly option.  A common solution is the use of stakes driven into the ground along the shoreline to offer a secure point to affix the boom.  

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Fabric Options for Oil Spill Containment Boom

Texas Boom Company typically uses a 22 oz PVC fabric to construct our oil spill containment boom.  This fabric offers a good balance between durability and cost.  This weight fabric adheres well during the RF welding process that TBC utilizes for all seams.  However, there are times when either a lighter fabric is prefered to reduce costs since the oil spill boom may be utilized for a shorter window of time.  Other times, a heavier weight fabric is preferred to add longer life and greater durability if the oil spill containment boom is expected to be deployed and retrieved repeatedly over time.  

Shown above is a recent production run that utilized 28 oz PVC fabric.  The customer needed the oil spill containment boom to be used repeatedly to conform with port requirements when their ships were docked.  Other fabrics like Polyurethane are also options.  Color is also a consideration with some customers.  Permeability is a key requirement on some silt curtain skirts.  We are always willing to consult with customers to choose the best fabric material and weight to meet their needs.  TBC can manufacture oil spill containment boom, silt curtains,and collapsible fabric tanks to exact customer specifications. 

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Turbidity Curtains Keep a Pump Running Clean

One of the difficulties in keeping a pump running in environments where there is vegetation, debris, and sediment in the water that is being pumped is keeping the in-take filter clean.  When the suction from the pump draws in materials other than water, they will typically either be caught at the filter of the intake hose, or worse, be passed through the pump and delivered onward.  If the water is being pumped to supply equipment, this can cause serious subsequent problems.

In the instance shown here, a pump was being used to supply water to mining equipment.  Because there was so much vegetation suspended in the water, the plant material was being transported to the mining equipment and clogging those machines.  In order to greatly reduce the amount of vegetation that was reaching the supply pump, the miners used these turbidity curtains to enclose the pump.  These turbidity curtains had permeable skirts, allowing water to flow through while filtering the debris.  These curtains were 5 feet in height and worked very well for this application.  The installation plan uses anchor kits to hold the turbity curtain in place away from the pump.  

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How Much Oil Containment Boom Gets Used?

Every spill disaster is different and requires a unique response.  The oil spill removal organizations (OSROs) are typically the companies that respond to deal with these situations.  These companies contract with oil and chemical companies to be their resources to respond with the proper expertise, equipment, and crews.  The recent ITC fire as lead to a subsequent significant spill event into the Houston Ship Channel.  News reports have cited deployment of 27,000 feet of spill containment boom and 22 oil recovery skimmers in combination with a large number of response boats during this event in Houston thus far.  It demonstrates that a significant amount of containment boom has to be staged at the ready to respond quickly in the case of emergency.  The OSROs carefully manage their inventory to be prepared, and containment boom manufacturers like Texas Boom Company also carry inventory to backfill what is used with quick turnarounds.

 

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Containment Boom Not Just for Oil Spills

Deploying containment boom is certainly a crucial component in the initial response to an oil spill.  However, there are a wide range of applications for containment boom that extend beyond just oil spills.  In industrial complexes all over the world, there is a constant risk of spills and runoff that threaten the environmental safety of waterways.  Unfortunately, the Houston area is currently experiencing just such a threat.  Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) near the Houston Ship Channel experienced a major fire at one of their tank farms.  The combination of the fire itself breaching the chemical storage tanks, as well as the foam used by firefighters and response teams have resulted in a serious issue with those substances running off into the adjacent waterways. 

These canals lead to the Houston Ship Channel which leads to Galveston Bay and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico.  It goes without saying that all parties involved are working feverishly to try to contain this runoff.  One of the tools at hand for the response teams is containment boom.   Shown in the images above and below, containment boom helps to keep the contaminants from flowing freely into the larger bodies of water.  This allows for additional cleaning techniques to subsequenlty be used.

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Custom Pipe Bladder

The custom made inflatable bladder shown below was the result of collaboration between a customer and the TBC team to create what is in essence an inflatable pipe plug.   This bladder will be inserted into a pipe and then inflated to form a barrier that will redirect equipment at a particular joint in the pipe system. The rod pockets were added to help position the bladder in place prior to inflation.  It's a creative solution to a problem, and Texas Boom Company was pleased to be able to assist in working towards an answer.

This is yet another example of TBC's ability to turn a sketch into a finished product.  Our fabrication technicians are skilled at their craft and always deliver quality products.  Have a unique challenge that requires some sort of custom bladder or tank?  Texas Boom has you covered using our RF welding technology to meet your needs.  

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Customized Silt Curtain

Texas Boom Company is willing and able to fabricate silt curtains to a customer's exact specifications.  Depending on the application, the silt curtains vary in length, freeboard and skirt height, connectivity, fabric weight, permeability, color, and whether tension cables and ballast chains are needed.  DOT requirements can also vary from state to state.  If you can describe it or provide the specifications, we can build it quickly and economically.  The way the curtain will be used and where it will be used dictate what solution will work best to meet the project's needs.  TBC also offers a selection of standard models, including Type I, II, and III turbidity curtains.  Consult with one of our experts if you are unsure which silt curtain is best suited for your project.  

Below is a customized Type I silt curtain that was recently built with a permeable skirt and without a top tension cable or ballast chain.  These silt curtains were shipped to Georgia, so keep in mind that Texas Boom company serves customers all over North and South America.  

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Using Collapsible Bladder Tanks as Ballast

Bladder tanks are a great way to provide ballast for a wide range of applications.  These fabric tanks lay flat and can be rolled for storage and ease of transport.  By simply adding water, you can add weight quickly and easily.  Disposing of the weight for transport is as easy as dumping the water.  Safe, quick, and effective.  The fabric used to make the collapsible bladder tanks is durable, and is reinforced opposite the valves to avoid any issues with abrasion inside the tank during transport.  We use top quality Monsun valves on these tanks. 

A gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds.  These 25 gallon collapsible tanks weigh less than 5 pounds empty.  Filling these 25 gallon tanks to capacity provides over 200 pounds of ballast weight.   For outdoor applications, you can use a hose to bring the weight directly to your location, and the water can typically be dumped without needing to relocate the bladder.  For indoor applications, the bladder would need to be moved to a drain for emptying. 

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Texas Boom Company Joins SCAA

 

Texas Boom Company is proud to join many other leading companies and organizations involved in the spill response industry who are active participants in the Spill Control Association of America (SCAA).  We join this group as a means to further contribute with oil spill response, and TBC is eager to engage in the positive work of the SCAA.  As a manufacturer of oil spill containment boom and related products, our company is firmly entrenched in this important segment,  and we support the goals of this key trade organization.  

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Texas Boom Participating in No Spills 2019

Texas Boom Company is pleased to announce plans to participate in the 2019 No Spills Conference Jan 30 - Feb 1 in Traverse City, MI at the Park Place Hotel and Conference Center. We will host a vendor booth to display our products to government agencies and other future customers.
The No-Spills Conference is a premier environmental and emergency response event focused on preventing and mitigating hazardous material spills into the Great Lakes and its tributaries. This year's event will be the 29th annual No-Spills Conference.  
For more information on the conference, visit www.no-spills.org.
 
 

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How to Connect Sections of Oil Containment Boom - Video

Most manufacturers of oil containment boom in the US utilize ASTM F962-94 aluminum connectors at both ends of the boom.  These universal Z connector bars allow sections of boom from any manufacturer to be used together to form longer sections of deployed containment boom.  In the event that the pin holes don't line up across boom makers, additional holes can quickly be drilled through the aluminum connector plates.  

 

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Being a Texas Boom Customer Puts You in Good Company

When you purchase products from Texas Boom Company, you are joining good company.  Our company has a history of delivering a wide range of quality products at competitive prices to many recognizable organizations.  Texas Boom's track record includes sales to the US and foreign governments (including GSA contracts), spill response organizations, as well as global leaders in the energy and chemical industries.  The US military, municipalities and ports are also frequent customers.  Texas Boom is proud of our past, and looks forward to expanding moving forward.  We hope to add your company amongst this growing list of prestegeous customers.

 

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492 Hits

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