Chevron, first responders partner on spill response training

Chevron, first responders partner on spill response training

A multi-agency training along the Pecos River in Carlsbad showed how technology and teamwork will safeguard local waterways if disaster ever strikes.

About two years ago, Chevron began strategically placing spill prevention trailers stocked with high-tech tools in locations along the Pecos River in New Mexico and Texas. The technology includes underflow dams and booms that can be deployed in the river within minutes to trap and remove contaminants like oil, and to prevent them from flowing down river.

Chevron now wants to acclimate local emergency responders on the technology, which the company is offering up for use any time there is a disaster.

“We will absolutely lend a hand, we all share the environment,” said Stephen Sigler, Emergency Management Specialist from Chevron’s Mid Continent Business Unit.

On May 7 and 8, a multi-agency training was conducted on the Pecos River consisting of representatives of Chevron, the Carlsbad and Eddy County fire departments, Legacy Safety, spill response tech provider HalenHardy and the Conservation and Environmental Services.

It was a beautiful couple of days outside the office for Sigler, who spent 24 years in the U.S. Navy and joined Chevron about a decade ago. About 30 firefighters participated in the training.

“Everybody was really impressed with the technology,” he said.

The technology is user friendly and not overly expensive. If a spill occurs, a HalenHardy instant underflow dam can be deployed within minutes across the river. The dam can be extended in length with help from Velcro and has spillways enabling water to pass through the bottom of the dam, but not at the top. This prevents the flow of oil and hydrocarbons, which float on the surface as they are lighter than water.

Crews would use a harbor oil containment boom to essentially trap the oil and hydrocarbons on the water’s surface. A vacuum truck can be deployed to remove contaminants if they were on the water’s surface.

“The goal of course is to minimize the impact to the environment as much as possible,” Sigler said.

At the training, product professionals from Helen Hardy helped explain how to deploy the technology. Sigler aims to host more trainings on the system. As an emergency specialist for Chevron, part of his role is to coordinate with local emergency planning agencies to share knowledge and capabilities. It’s part of mutual aid, he said.

“We want to show them what we have and they want to show us what they have so we can combine these resources in times of need,” he said.