Ohmsett receives funds for improvementsNews // November 7, 2013
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is to receive US$4 million for infrastructure improvements as part of a US$162 million investment strategy announced by US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to protect Atlantic Coast communities from future, powerful storms, and will use the money for what it called "infrastructure resiliency improvements" at its oil spill response research and renewable energy test facility, Ohmsett.
After Hurricane Sandy, BSEE quickly worked to complete a thorough damage assessment of the facility and complete necessary repairs in order to return Ohmsett to operational status. This project at Ohmsett will make improvements to the facility by providing additional protection against future storms and help to maintain the resiliency of the surrounding land. The Ohmsett facility includes the largest saltwater tank in the US, which is used for testing oil recovery technology.
“Hurricane Sandy had a direct impact on Ohmsett, damaging the facility and delaying important oil spill response research and testing," said BSEE Director Brian Salerno. “This additional funding will allow us to complete further enhancements at Ohmsett, providing for storm resistant design improvements to protect both this unique facility and the surrounding lands while ensuring that there is minimal impact to the vital work that is accomplished each day at Ohmsett.”
The funding will go towards mitigation measures to prevent or reduce wind and water impacts from future storms. The funding will cover important improvements such as elevating electrical and other equipment above potential storm surge levels, installing shutters to prevent building and tank damage, and installing barriers to prevent debris impacts to facility piping and other exposed infrastructure subject to damage from a severe storm event.
BSEE is the principal federal agency funding offshore oil spill response research, and Ohmsett is a key part of the bureau’s oil spill response research programme. 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.