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May 2013 Issue

Liquid Robotics, Chelsea Partner For Hydrocarbon Monitoring
The growth in oil exploration has increased the demand from offshore oil companies for high-quality surveying and monitoring data.

Chelsea Technologies Group Ltd. (Surrey, England) has been providing Liquid Robotics Inc. (Sunnyvale, California) with AquaTracka hydrocarbon sensors. Originally developed for military applications, the UV AquaTracka can detect very low levels of crude and refined oils in marine and freshwater environments.

Using data from sensors such as the Chelsea UV AquaTracka deployed from the Wave Glider, Liquid Robotics can provide real-time information on water quality to the oil industry.


Harbor Branch to Host Workshop On Estuarine Observation
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation Inc. (Fort Pierce, Florida) is sponsoring a workshop called Developing a Science Plan for Estuarine Observing Systems: A National Workshop to address the need for estuarine observation.

Today’s estuaries are fragile ecosystems affected by storms and droughts, land use and climate changes. Estuarine studies are primarily based on local research, and there is no national plan or best practices for research goals.

The workshop, tentatively scheduled for October 2013 at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, will develop a scientific plan for estuarine observing systems that will identify research priorities, technology development and outreach opportunities.

Topics to be discussed include instrumentation and sensor development, data standards, translating science to management decisions and education.


Shipping Fracking Wastewater By Barge a Possibility
The U.S. Coast Guard has proposed a plan to allow the removal of fracking wastewater by barge, Reuters reported. The rule could be approved by President Barack Obama’s administration in the near future, though the White House’s Office of Management and Budget has not given a time line for the decision.

Currently, trucks take the waste from Pennsylvania, the hub of East Coast natural gas drilling, to Ohio for removal. Companies argue that barging is the safer method of transportation for the waste, which is a combination of the liquid drillers use to break through the rock and the water produced in the process, which can contain radioactive materials.

Environmentalists worry that leaks or spills could contaminate the waterways that many cities rely on for drinking water, especially in smaller communities lacking needed infrastructure. Other industries that produce acids and other chemicals have already contributed to pollution of water sources.

Gasoline and other petroleum products are frequently transported through U.S. waterways.

The Obama administration’s decision could hint at how fracking regulations will be handled in the future.


EPA, Hawaii DOH Fine Ship Repair Co.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has settled with Marisco Ltd. (Kapolei, Hawaii), with a consent decree that includes civil penalties of $710,000, for water pollution control violations at its ship repair and drydock facilities at Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii.

This is the largest Clean Water Act civil penalty against a ship repair facility. The EPA’s complaint against Marisco found that the company failed to implement the required water pollution controls.

During an inspection in 2008, the EPA and Hawaii DOH observed storage of leaking equipment, workers washing down work areas directly into the harbor and sandblast material from Marisco’s operations discharged into the harbor. The settlement requires Marisco to use clean water to wash the drydock after paint removal and sandblasting, collect the water used for washing and treat it to ensure that it is not discharged when the drydock is lowered into the harbor.

The EPA and DOH settlement will ensure that Marisco’s discharges meet the Clean Water Act permit effluent limits, which will result in the reduction of about 295 pounds of copper, 94 pounds of zinc, 14 pounds of solids and 8 pounds of oil and grease each year in the harbor waters.


NOAA, U.S. Census Predict Growth in Coastal Population
NOAA and the U.S. Census Bureau released a report finding that the U.S. coast will see population grow from 123 million people to nearly 134 million people by 2020.

The trend will put more people at increased risk from extreme coastal storms like Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Isaac, which severely damaged property.

According to the report, which analyzed data from the 2010 census, 39 percent of the U.S. population is concentrated in counties directly on the shoreline.

The population trend will force city management to consider not only how to keep people safe from storms, but also how to protect the coastal environment from urbanization.


Removal of Japanese Dock on Olympic Coast Completed
A 185-ton dock that washed out to sea during the March 2011 tsunami in Japan has now been removed from Washington’s Olympic coast. Crews from The Undersea Co. (Port Townsend, Washington) removed the last of the dock’s concrete and plastic foam from the beach and the inland landing site.

NOAA contracted with The Undersea Co. to remove the dock from the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and the Olympic National Park.

The removal effort was supported by many state and federal agencies.

The cost was paid by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the national park, and with funds provided to NOAA from the government of Japan to help with cleanup of marine debris from the tsunami.

To ensure contractor and visitor safety, the coastal area of Olympic National Park between Goodman Creek and Jefferson Cove had been closed to all public entry. These areas have now been reopened.


2014:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC
2013:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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