In high current oil spill cleanup operations, containment devices should be used as one element in a containment-pickup system. To achieve successful control over the oil slick, three activities have been identified based on an analysis of the present hydrodynamic theory of oil spill containment:
absorb or convert the kinetic energy of the fast-flowing water stream
separate the oil film from as much of the free-flowing stream as possible
direct the oil film to a controlled area to facilitate its collection and removal.
Acting under the authority of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, the Environmental Protection Agency awarded a contract to Ultrasystems, Inc., of Newport Beach, California, to design, develop, and demonstrate a streamlined boom utilizing hydrofoil concepts. Additionally, EPA awarded a contract to the Shell Development Company to develop an unconventional boom profile utilizing a perforated incline plate as a baffle upstream of a conventional plate boom. This baffle creates a flow-sheltered region where the oil layer can thicken, thus facilitating its removal. Following developmental tests of these concepts, full-scale prototype tests will be conducted at the Environmental Protection Agency's OHMSETT facility in Leonardo, New Jersey. Following these tests, final reports will be issued which will include recommended design, fabrication, and material specifications.