April 28, 2010
Test burn tried as part of Deepwater Horizon response
The Coast Guard started a controlled burn of pockets of crude within the slick over the Deepwater Horizon site late this afternoon and stopped at nightfall. Weather permitting, burns will continue Thursday morning.
Crews from the Texas General Land Office Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program supplied 1,000 feet of special fire boom to help with the process.
Prior to the burn, the unified command said the plan was for workboats to consolidate oil into a fire resistant boom approximately 500 feet long. This oil was then to be towed to a more remote area, to be ignited and burned in a controlled manner. The plan called for small, controlled burns of several thousand gallons of oil lasting approximately one hour each.
The vast majority of the slick will be addressed through natural means and through use of chemical dispersants. Controlled burns will not affect other ongoing response activities, such as on-water skimming, dispersant application, and subsurface wellhead intervention operations. Preparations are also underway in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama to set up a protective boom to minimize shoreline impact.
Meantime, the latest NOAA update issued Wednesday evening reported that workers finished fabricating the containment chamber portion of the collection dome that will be deployed to the sea floor to collect oil as it escapes from the well. Work will now begin on the piping system that brings the oil to the surface for collection; this method has never been tried at this depth before.
NOAA says the first rig to be used for drilling a relief or cut-off well is on site and should begin drilling approximately ? a mile from the well head on Friday. The relief well will not be complete for several months.
Responders are still figuring out new ways to use Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to try to trigger the blowout preventer (BOP), a series of valves that sits at the well head. These efforts will continue concurrent with the collection dome and relief well(s).
Good weather today allowed for both skimming operations and aggressive aerial application of dispersants - over 50,000 gallons of dispersant have been applied to the surface oil in the last two days.
Current NOAA efforts are focused on: gathering more information about the spill, planning for open water and shoreline remediation, and readying for environmental assessment and response. Natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) activities are now underway.
Winds are forecast to become strong (20+ kts) and blow from the southeast starting tomorrow and continuing through the weekend, which will continue to push surface oil towards shore
NOAA oil-spill trajectory analyses indicate that oil continues to move towards shore.
100,000' of oil-containment booms (or floating barriers) have been deployed as a precaution to protect sensitive areas in the Louisiana area.
The effects of oil on sensitive habitats and shorelines in four states (LA, MS, AL, and FL) are being evaluated should oil from the incident make landfall in appreciable quantities
NOAA's Assessment and Restoration Division is evaluating concerns about potential injuries of oil and dispersants to fishes, human use of fisheries, marine mammals, turtles, and sensitive resources
Baseline aerial surveys to assess marine life were conducted today with personnel from NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), these will continue as needed