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Duckweed Barrier

Duckweed Barrier

As the spring season progresses and temperatures begin to rise, it is a sure bet many areas will see an increase in problems associated with marine vegetation.  These water-based plants, often invasive species, grow rapidly and can overtake a body of water quickly, blocking out the sunlight into the water and depleting the oxygen levels in the water.  These problems affect not only people but also animals and other plants.  Common freshwater plant species that can be a nuisance in the US include Water Hyacinth, Hydrilla, Duckweed, Watermeal and Giant Salvinia.  These plants can overgrow rivers, streams, creeks, bayous, lakes, ponds and reservoirs. 

 

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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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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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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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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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