Boom is used to contain oil for burning or skimming, deflect oil from sensitive areas, or protecting shorelines. For a large spill, hundreds of kilometers of boom could be deployed in efforts to protect shorelines. Currently, aerial or vessel-based observers are sent to determine if a boom is contacting oil or to monitor its integrity. The level of effort required to carry out a thorough inspection is considerable and can be challenged due to weather or logistical constraints. Further, the time interval between inspections can be between 12 hours to several days.
To both minimize personnel requirements and provide real-time status, we have developed an advanced boom monitoring system. The system monitors boom integrity and the presence of oil. The elements of the system include a non-contact ultraviolet fluorometer, a computer processing unit (CPU), communications via a satellite modem, and a power source. This equipment is housed within a 24″ marine aluminum buoy. The CPU can be remotely interfaced using the satellite modem to adjust parameters for data collection and reporting. Key parameters that can be adjusted include oil thickness on water (e.g., notification versus actionable oil), reporting time (e.g., every 10 minutes or 60 minutes), and system status. The boom monitor has two standard boom connections to allow it to connect between two lengths of shoreline boom or it can be anchored separately from the boom.
This paper will summarize development and capabilities of the advanced boom monitoring system.