Balaena Skimmer Letter of Testamentary

Interoffice Memorandum

Released: July 20th, 2023

From: Nelson J. Fetgatter

As an organization, we often times talk of value-added opportunities within the SCAA membership and at our annual meetings.  I wanted to share with our membership one of those value-added opportunities and experiences.

On May 6, 2023 Phoenix Pollution Control & Environmental Services, Inc. was engaged in a local refinery oil spill cleanup operation due to a fire and subsequent explosion here in the Gulf Coast region.  We utilized several standard methods of oil recovery and did so very effectively.  The oil recovery and cleanup operations from the damaged product refining unit continued for (8) weeks.  We are pleased to announce that we had the opportunity to engage (1) of BALAENA’s new prototype skimming devices on the project.  The unit was engaged on a (7) day trial basis and was later engaged on an on-hire basis for an additional (17) days.  The unit is classified or recognized as an “Induced Flow Oil Recovery System” also identified by Balaena as a “Quick Strike Deployment System”.  The unit is diesel/hydraulic driven utilizing patented automated oil sensor technology with a high pumping capacity.  The unit ran for (4) 24-hour continuous work cycles and (20) 12-hour work cycles experiencing little to no actual down time.  We did have to remove an internal screen (that was previously installed for plastic removal trials) on one occasion that became clogged with debris during the oil collection process and experienced an approximate (20-25) minute operational delay.  Once the screen was removed, we had no other down time or operational issues. 

This prototype unit was engaged rather late in the oil recovery process as most of the initial free-floating oil had been recovered and the balance of the oil remaining resided in the facilities storm drain system.  We deployed the unit in one of the primary storm drain outfall locations, experiencing several periods of high-volume oil recovery during periods of heavy rain fall and intentional storm drain flushing operations.  Unfortunately, we were not able to validate the total volume of oil recovered utilizing this oil recovery unit but can confirm that the unit selectively recovered in excess of (500) barrels of hydrocarbon product with a water content of 1% or less.  We found the unit to be very simple to deploy and operate and provided excellent recovery capacity.  The unit has a much higher recovery and pumping capacity than was utilized for this incident.  The customer was very satisfied with the oil recovery capabilities and highlighting the less tan 1% water content minimizing the need to process additional water through the onsite waste water treatment facility.

My sincerest thanks for the opportunity to showcase the new Balaena skimming unit in a live and active response environment and the opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of new technology and fellow SCAA members. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with such a professional group of men and fellow SCAA members.

For additional information and details regarding this new technology, please feel free to contact Brad Rutledge at:

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