Perdido Pass system is working

From Thompson Engineering:

As most of you are aware, over the past few weeks, Thompson Engineering has been under contract to install a prototype steel boom and piling system at Perdido Pass to assist in the oil collection as a first line of defense against incoming hydrocarbon product to the Perdido Bay estuary. The system has received much press coverage, as would be expected on such a high profile project – yet, quite frankly, some recent coverage has been inaccurate and misinformed. It is important that I provide this information to you to fully understand the real facts of the project and the progress that is being made – and this memorandum should provide you that information.

The Pass system is more than 95% complete and has been performing better than any could have envisioned with regard to training the surface and near surface oil to the designed collection point on the east side of the Pass. Notably, one of our design-build partners, Jordan Pile Driving, under the direction of our Construction Manager, Tony Smith, was installing the last few specialized bolted boom flange connections when Tropical Storm Alex hit the Gulf. The system rode the storm well, yet it did have 6 out of the 50 flange joints become partially unsecured (those six joints being just hours away from being fully installed). Today and tomorrow (and maybe into Saturday – weather dependent) we will be finishing the installation. Under our contract, we have a 10 day monitoring and fine tuning period – which we are now in – and that will extend through the end of next week. We expect shortly to have an ongoing operations contract with BP for gate operations and maintenance of the system.

Of additional technical interest, divers working on our project continue to observe that the majority if not all of the oil product is flowing into the Pass and along our pipe booms only in the upper 18 inches and therefore is being effectively trained and collected by the system.

Kindly note that every other boom system offshore and on-shore was either damaged, lost, or removed during the recent weather events. Our system continues to effectively manage and collect the oil as designed, even in such a hostile marine environment, and we are all confident that once we have completed all the fine tuning and specialized connections over the next few days, the Perdido Pass system will perform at the high level that the community has hoped.

Amy Meyers DiRusso, P.E.
Senior Engineer
Thompson Engineering, Inc.