6
Applied Technology

Arctic environments are faced with many issues related to the release of oil into marine environments. The presence of ice limits the effectiveness of most response technologies and methodologies and an oil spill in ice-infested waters could not be effectively responded to given the present state of technology. This deficiency puts many important marine natural resources at risk. Although much research has been directed at perfecting and improving oil spill response in Alaskan waters over the past 20 years, many problems remain unsolved. Challenges range from overcoming the difficulties of containing and recovering oil during ice freeze-up and breakup periods to improving or inventing technologies for tracking, containing, and recovering oil during the fast ice season. It is still unclear which, if any, of the existing techniques are effective in mitigating the effects of oil in the water and in or under the ice given Arctic environmental conditions and the resources at risk.

One component of the mission of the Oil Spill Recovery Institute (OSRI) is to “…identify and develop the best available techniques, equipment, and materials for dealing with oil spills in Arctic and subarctic marine environment….” To accomplish this component of the OSRI mission, a portfolio of projects has been funded to conduct research and carry out demonstration projects that are called “applied technology” (Table 6-1). Goals for the OSRI Applied Technology program include development of (1) tools to improve prevention and response to oil spills; (2) development of improved cleanup technologies; and (3) creation of models to inform the deployment of equipment and personnel during an



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The Oil Spill Recovery Institute: Past, Present, and Future Directions 6 Applied Technology Arctic environments are faced with many issues related to the release of oil into marine environments. The presence of ice limits the effectiveness of most response technologies and methodologies and an oil spill in ice-infested waters could not be effectively responded to given the present state of technology. This deficiency puts many important marine natural resources at risk. Although much research has been directed at perfecting and improving oil spill response in Alaskan waters over the past 20 years, many problems remain unsolved. Challenges range from overcoming the difficulties of containing and recovering oil during ice freeze-up and breakup periods to improving or inventing technologies for tracking, containing, and recovering oil during the fast ice season. It is still unclear which, if any, of the existing techniques are effective in mitigating the effects of oil in the water and in or under the ice given Arctic environmental conditions and the resources at risk. One component of the mission of the Oil Spill Recovery Institute (OSRI) is to “…identify and develop the best available techniques, equipment, and materials for dealing with oil spills in Arctic and subarctic marine environment….” To accomplish this component of the OSRI mission, a portfolio of projects has been funded to conduct research and carry out demonstration projects that are called “applied technology” (Table 6-1). Goals for the OSRI Applied Technology program include development of (1) tools to improve prevention and response to oil spills; (2) development of improved cleanup technologies; and (3) creation of models to inform the deployment of equipment and personnel during an

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The Oil Spill Recovery Institute: Past, Present, and Future Directions oil spill response for maximum effect and mitigation. A range of activities and projects have been funded under the OSRI applied technology mandate, including workshops, portions of the Nowcast/Forecast model, Mechanical Oil Recovery in Infested Ice Waters (MORICE), development of an in situ hydrocarbon monitor, a computer simulation of dispersant application during an oil spill, an inventory of oil response equipment, and a study of radar as an ice detection method (Table 6-1). The funds for these projects total more than $1.8 million in the period FY98-01. SELECTED PROJECT DESCRIPTIONS OSRI projects under the applied technology component have been generally funded as stand-alone projects. Together they represent a mosaic of various types of activities and projects that can be broadly interpreted as supporting the OSRI mission. Examples of projects in this category include Small Spill Technology—An information program for small boat harbors in PWS and Cook Inlet regions. It provides information, posters, and stickers to educate boaters on the different ways they can minimize pollution to the harbors and surrounding waters. Scoping Initiative for Cook Inlet—Scoping to determine whether to do a future risk assessment exercise for Cook Inlet. If done, this would include a risk assessment of natural resources at risk of an oil spill. PAH Field Monitor Development—Development of a reagentless polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) analyzer for field use. The instrument prototype was built and was to be field tested in Cordova in the summer of 2002 with assistance from NMFS personnel from Auke Bay. Three Dimensional Oil Spill Dispersal Simulation—A Norwegian spill trajectory model, Oil Spill Contingency and Response (OSCAR), has been modified for use in PWS. It combines a fates model, weathering model, and strategic response model. Ice Detection in Prince William Sound—Cooperative participation in a program to place a radar station on Reef Island for the detection of ice and ships moving in PWS. Total project cost was $847,000, with OSRI portion being $100,000. PWS Tide Height Data Collection—Establishes automated tide gauges in PWS. Estimated cost is $50,000 for installations and an OSRI

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The Oil Spill Recovery Institute: Past, Present, and Future Directions TABLE 6-1 Summary of OSRI-funded Projects, FY98-02, by Program Area: Applied Technology Contract Term Project Titlea Totalb 12/29/98 - 03/30/98 Proceedings: A Symposium on Practical Ice Observation in CI & PWS $5,261 03/09/98 - 05/15/98 Dispersant Application in Alaska -1998 Workshop Proceedings $12,887 06/08/98 - 09/07/98 Internship: Network Administration $8,000 12/01/98 - 04/26/99 Small Spill Workshop: “Plug the Leaks” $21,619 Technology Coordinator $13,598 10/05/98 - 03/15/99 Workshop: “Geographic Response Planning” $11,900 10/01/98 - 09/30/99 Fellowship $36,000 01/01/99 - 12/31/99 Nowcast/Forecast Program $133,100 01/01/99 - 12/31/99 Nowcast/Forecast Program $133,333 03/31/99 - 06/15/99 Publication: “Field Guide for Oil Response in the Arctic” $20,315 06/15/99 - 04/30/00 Mechanical Oil Recovery in Ice Infested Waters (MORICE)-Phase IV $64,000 10/01/98 - 09/30/99 Technology Coordinator $100,000 12/01/99 - 11/30/00 Workshop Proceedings (CD-Rom): International Oil & Ice Workshop 2000 $25,000 02/01/00 - 01/31/01 Clean Boating Project $10,000 05/01/00 - 02/28/01 Mechanical Oil Recovery in Ice Infested Waters (MORICE)-Phase V $60,000 06/15/00 - 06/14/01 In Situ Determination & Monitoring of Hydrocarbons $43,876 06/15/00 - 06/14/01 Computer Simulation of Spatial-Temporal Distribution of Dispersed and Nondispersed Oil Spills $171,000 06/15/00 - 01/31/01 Nowcast/Forecast Program $140,000 10/01/99 - 09/30/00 Technology Coordinator $100,000 06/01/01 - 11/30/01 Response - Software Implementation $60,633 06/01/01 - 11/30/01 Response - Software Implementation $59,833 06/01/01 - 11/30/01 Response - Software Implementation $60,633 03/15/01 - 10/31/01 Mechanical Oil Recovery in Ice Infested Waters (MORICE)-Phase VI $80,000

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The Oil Spill Recovery Institute: Past, Present, and Future Directions Program Area Institution Awarded Modeling/Support of Modeling? Tech Jean Clarkin   Tech S.L. Ross Environmental   Tech PWS Science Center   Tech Cordova District Fishermen United   Tech   Tech Tim Robertson   Tech UAF/SFOS/IARC ✓ Tech Prince William Sound Science Center ✓ Tech University of Miami/RSMAS ✓ Tech Counterspill Research, Inc.   Tech SINTEF   Tech OSRI   Tech Alaska Clean Seas   Tech Cook Inlet Keeper   Tech SINTEF   Tech Arizona State University   Tech SINTEF ✓ Tech University of Miami/RSMAS ✓ Tech OSRI   Tech SEAPRO   Tech Alaska Chadux Corporation   Tech Cook Inlet Spill Prevention & Response, Inc.   Tech SINTEF  

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The Oil Spill Recovery Institute: Past, Present, and Future Directions Contract Term Project Titlea Totalb 10/01/00 - 09/30/01 Technology Coordinatorc $40,391   Travel to Attend EPPR and Other Oil Response Meetings Abroad $8,943 02/01/01 - 01/31/02 Nowcast/Forecast Program $150,000 08/01/01 - 09/30/02 Ice Detection Technologies Using Radar $100,000 09/01/01 - 09/30/02 Review of the OSRI Research Program $100,000 TOTAL   $1,770,322 NOTE: All totals are approximate and are based on information provided by OSRI in February 2002. aDescriptions of most projects can be found at the OSRI website <http://www.pwssc-osri.org>. cost of $15,000/year to maintain. Information useful for local fishermen and boaters; part of dataset to be used in NC/FC model. PWS Meteorological Data Collection—Development of a meteorological data collection capability within PWS. Partnership with several other entities. Input for NC/FC model. Nowcast/Forecast Physical Modeling Project—This is a modeling project designed to implement and verify the Princeton Ocean Model (POM) for PWS. Long-term plans are to be able to model the physical environment so that the fate of oil can be predicted, therefore, that relevant biological resources at risk can be identified based on the projected fate of the oil and dispersants that might be used. This effort is discussed in depth in Chapter 7. MORICE Phase 6.1—Coparticipant in the development and testing of an open-ice skimming machine (see Box 6-1). Regional Atmospheric Model—Implementation, validation, and operation of a mesoscale atmospheric model for PWS. The primary use is to

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The Oil Spill Recovery Institute: Past, Present, and Future Directions Program Area Institution Awarded Modeling/Support of Modeling? Tech/Eco/Edu OSRI   Other PWS Science Center   Tech University of Miami/RSMAS ✓ Tech Prince William Sound Science Center RCAC   Other National Academy of Sciences   bThis is the total spent on the project through early 2002; some projects continue. cAs of this entry, the technology coordinator is listed in all three programs (Ecology, Technology, and Education) rather than just in Technology, so Tables 5-1, 6-1, and 8-1 each include one-third of $121,175 in their total. provide key atmospheric data to interface with NC/FC ocean/PWS circulation model. Dispersion Impact Analysis—This activity uses the OSCAR model to conduct a wide range of dispersion scenarios to assist in future dispersant use planning and priority setting in real spill situations. The funds will be used by OSRI staff to run the model with various scenarios. Oil and Ice Think Tank—A proposed meeting that will bring together leading experts to identify deficiencies in our current knowledge and capabilities for spill response in ice-infested waters. Oil Response Inventory Project—A major effort, as indicated by the level of funding, was conducted by OSRI through the awarding of three contracts, for the period 6/1/01-11/30/01, to SEAPRO, to Alaska Chadux Corporation, and to Cook Inlet Spill Prevention & Response, Inc., for an inventory of oil spill response equipment. This included a software product designed to locate and determine the availability of such equipment in case of an oil spill.

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The Oil Spill Recovery Institute: Past, Present, and Future Directions BOX 6-1 ARCTIC OIL RECOVERY TECHNOLOGY: THE MORICE PROJECT Mechanical recovery of oil spilled in the presence of sea ice has always been difficult, and reliance on a strategy of burning spilled oil, when ice is present, has been the preferred alternative. When new ice is forming, oil is encapsulated into ice and is difficult to burn. Oil spilled under an ice sheet will be incorporated into the ice by natural freezing processes and can be neither burned nor mechanically removed. Therefore, such oil will be moved, along with moving ice, for eventual release in remote locations by natural melting processes. The presence of ice for most of the winter at Prudhoe Bay and even in Cook Inlet makes it difficult to provide for mechanical oil recovery there. Fortunately, the Valdez Arm has sea ice for only a brief few days in exceptional winters (once since the oil transport from Valdez began in 1977). The MORICE program was a technology development initiative of industry, in which the principal producers of North Slope oil began to develop an apparatus for the mechanical recovery of oil spilled in ice-infested waters. The focus was to deal with a situation in which oil was floating on water that also had ice floes. The operational principles of skimmers for open water were adapted to the situation by designing an apparatus that would float and mechanically lift the ice floes on a conveyor belt, above the water level, and then would rinse the oil off of the ice floes, and the resulting oil-water mixture would be subjected to normal oil-water separation technology. The device was conceived and a model was built and tested in the ice model tank of the Hamburgische Schiff Versuchs Anstalt (HSVA) in Hamburg, Germany. Performance was as predicted in model scale, and then a full-scale prototype was constructed and tested at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. In this stage of the MORICE project, Phase IV, the participation of OSRI was initiated, along with the other industrial participants. Phase IV testing verified the operational principles, and set the limits for operation of the equipment. The equipment is not operational under conditions of freezing conditions, when frazil ice is being formed, and must be operated when ice is broken into floes of a size smaller than the width of the ramp apparatus that RESPONSIVENESS TO MISSION In general, the Applied Technology program is responsive to the OSRI mission. The committee had extended discussions about whether this part of the OSRI mission was properly focused and receiving adequate financial resources. The issue of balance in OSRI’s portfolio of projects was

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The Oil Spill Recovery Institute: Past, Present, and Future Directions moves the ice floes above the waterline. The equipment can deal with a floe thickness of a certain maximum value, which unfortunately is much less than the ice thickness in Prudhoe Bay in late spring. Therefore, the applicability of the apparatus seems to be in areas such as Cook Inlet, but only when the ice floes are not driven by strong tidal currents. The conclusions of Phases IV and V of MORICE leave open the questions of where the technology may be applicable, and also confirm that many ice conditions are sufficiently severe and complicated as to frustrate mechanical cleanup of oil spilled in such conditions. A second part of the evaluation of the MORICE apparatus was to be conducted by the prime contractor, SINTEF, in Svalbard. This field evaluation was a failure, due to the failure to anticipate the creep of the ice sheet under the combined effects of equipment loading and snow loading from an unexpected snowstorm. The MORICE system appears to operate successfully under controlled, non-freezing air temperature conditions, within its limitations of ice floe size and thickness, and in the absence of ice movement or current flow. It may have applicability in the Great Lakes or parts of Canada, as well as in the European, Russian, or Caspian Sea regions. With reference to oil spills in Cook Inlet, where tidal currents are high, the apparatus has only the theoretical possibility of being useful, however. In Prudhoe Bay, the condition of non-freezing air temperatures along with the presence of broken sea ice does not exist except in summer, for some 60-75 days, which would represent the maximum window of opportunity for use of known methods of mechanical recovery of oil in ice. OSRI participation in Phase VI of this program was ill-considered, and future participation of OSRI in the MORICE program is not recommended. Development of apparatus for recovery of oil on ice floes, or within ice, has at this time reached a plateau, with any future additional work awaiting a “break-through concept” that shows great promise. Costs of pushing toward a more effective apparatus would be very high, and any improvements on conventional technology would be incremental and marginal. Oil spill recovery equipment improvements should be viewed as beyond the scope of OSRI financial resources. Creative brainstorming of this intractable problem might, however, be worthwhile. recognized by the Advisory Board and was partially dealt with by the previously described 40/40/20 targets for resource allocation. The monies expended in the applied technology area in recent years have been close to the established targets. However, as mentioned elsewhere, the classification of projects into these categories appears to be somewhat arbitrary and in some cases projects that might be classified in either cat-

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The Oil Spill Recovery Institute: Past, Present, and Future Directions egory were assigned as needed to support the 40/40/20 formula. Overall since inception, nearly 40 percent of OSRI funds have been expended on projects categorized as applied technology. Trying to achieve advancements in the area of oil spill response in cold climates is a difficult undertaking that will require substantial investments of people, resources, and funds that far exceed the capabilities of OSRI. In apparent recognition of these limitations, OSRI often participated as a minor player in larger projects. The effectiveness and impact of these investments is limited. Of the several OSRI projects and activities classified as applied technology, MORICE and Ice Think Tank were considered by the committee to be the most likely to have a direct impact on oil-spill-related issues in the Prince William Sound area. Although clearly focused on its mission, the MORICE project was marginal in effect and impact. Such large-scale technology development is very expensive and long-term, and the evaluation would have occurred without OSRI’s contribution. The Ice Think Tank is a useful mechanism for defining the current state of the art and will provide OSRI with guidance for planning future directions for this portion of their program. OSRI projects related to oil spill response that have a communications/education focus are effective. These projects provide an important public service and make a significant contribution to the long-term goal of reducing the release of pollutants to the environment. The program on small spill technology is a good example. OIL SPILL RESPONSE—AN OSRI MISSION? A key question is whether OSRI should be developing capabilities for real-time response to oil spills as a response organization or should it be playing a supporting role by providing research and advice to improve the efficiency of response and the range of tools available to responders. The OSRI mandate related to oil spill response has been subject to rather broad interpretation. In the committee’s judgment, OSRI is not structured to be, nor is it provided with the authority, to act as a response organization. The committee concludes that OSRI should not operate as a real-time response mechanism and efforts expended in this arena will likely have little impact during an actual spill event. Beyond the Nowcast/Forecast model (discussed in depth in Chapter 7), an example of an OSRI project that is primarily a real-time response activity is the purchase of database software for cataloguing and managing information related to spill equipment and training of personnel in various oil spill response organizations around the state. The cooperative spill response organizations for the three major areas where the oil spill

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The Oil Spill Recovery Institute: Past, Present, and Future Directions response equipment is stockpiled (Prince William Sound, Cook Inlet, and Prudhoe Bay) normally would have such equipment lists and status reports; thus, it is not clear why OSRI was involved in this effort. In most cases, the regional U.S. Coast Guard office also maintains complete inventories of the spill response equipment capabilities in the region of their responsibility. This is a real-time response activity already served by other organizations and it is unclear how the OSRI purchase of a software package enhanced oil spill response capabilities. FUTURE DIRECTIONS The OSRI Applied Technology program should emphasize the development and improvement of techniques, material, and equipment that can be used to respond to and affect the cleanup of oil spills in cold marine environments. Mitigation of Long-Term Effects The people charged to respond to and clean up the Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS) faced myriad problems, and there are many opportunities for OSRI to evaluate cleanup methods and techniques suitable for the PWS and Alaska coastlines. During the oil spill, there was considerable controversy over the use of beach-cleaning agents, bioremediation products, etc. In some habitats, such as in mud-flat regions and in areas with heavy mussel beds, there was considerable debate and concern over the proper techniques to use. Efficacy of Clean-Up Techniques In addition to evaluating and recommending appropriate cleanup techniques to mitigate long-term impacts, OSRI could serve as an independent assessor of future cleanup techniques. Most cleanup activities will be handled by contractors, but there are opportunities to conduct appropriate studies to evaluate and assess the effectiveness of different cleanup techniques before spills happen. Alaska also has unique habitats and environmental conditions that are not favorable for standard oil spill response equipment. High tides and currents in excess of 1 knot create considerable difficulties for standard design booms and booming strategies. The OSRI program should consider the evaluation of equipment and techniques that would be best suited for response under Alaska conditions.

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The Oil Spill Recovery Institute: Past, Present, and Future Directions Real-Time Assessment of Resources at Risk OSRI should also continue to develop capabilities for rapid, real-time assessment of populations at risk. This real-time information could be used in support of resource agency input to the federal on-scene coordinator when priorities for oil spill response activities are being set. Partnerships and Cooperation In projects directly dealing with equipment and materials development, and in response strategies, OSRI should continue to seek cooperative input and participation with oil spill coops in Alaska. These are natural partnerships, and much of the real expertise in spill response is contained within the coops. OSRI should confine participation to programs where their special talents can make a real difference and not programs where OSRI becomes a subscriber. These special roles can best be identified by close collaboration with other programs and stakeholders. In defining the roles that OSRI might play in oil spill response, it is important to understand that its role will be that of a supporting organization. Its knowledge and capabilities will be made available and mobilized through the unified command structure of the spill response. To more effectively make its capabilities available, it is important that OSRI develop relationships with the key spill response organizations, before a spill, to ensure that they are effectively included in the program if a spill occurs. This might be facilitated by the coop representatives, the NOAA science support coordinator, and the BP spill response coordinator on the OSRI Advisory Board. Natural Resource Damage Assessment Another component of the OSRI mission is to facilitate environmental assessment. The current OSRI project portfolio contains little in the way of projects that would assist in the conduct of natural resource damage assessment programs (see Chapter 2). One project that does fit into this category is the development of a PAH field monitor. OSRI should be identifying what key pieces of information are needed to conduct proper resource damage assessments, and then fund projects to address these needs including the improvement of assessment tools. For example, the waterfowl toxicity work was an effort to improve the use of biomarkers of exposure and could be considered a technology effort in support of future damage assessment work. Other suggestions are discussed in the report, Oil in the Sea: Inputs, Fates, and Effects (NRC, 2002), and could be developed through the strategic planning process.