The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency completed the basic construction of its Oil and Hazardous Materials Simulated Environmental Test Tank (OHMSETT) in the summer of 1974. Spill cleanup methods and equipment will be safely evaluated and improved at this facility without endangering the environment. The Leonardo, New Jersey, facility is designed to simulate conditions in rivers and estuaries.
The core of the facility is a 667-ft long by 65-ft wide concrete, above-ground, outdoor tank, 11 ft deep. It is filled to a depth of 8 ft with estuarine water. Regular waves up to 30 in high and 100 ft long can be generated, or a severe interference chop condition can be made by reflecting regular waves off an angled end wall. The tank is spanned by a 40-ton bridge designed for towing floating test equipment at speeds up to 6 knots. The bridge also contains apparatus for laying thin oil slicks onto the water surface immediately ahead of equipment being tested. A 2,000-gpm, pressure-leaf, diatomaceous earth filter maintains sufficient water clarity to permit the use of underwater video recording and photography. A 7,000-square-foot support building houses offices, a laboratory, mechanical and electronic shops, and an equipment preparation area.
A description of experiences during the first 6 months of operation and a discussion of the facility's potential for serving public and private users will be presented.