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Gulf Guardian Award Winners 2004

Partnership Category - 2nd Place

Dec. 1, 2004


STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Gulf of Mexico Program today presented Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC), with a second place Gulf Guardian Award for 2004 in the Partnership Category for their Oil and Oily Bilgewater Recovery Units. The award ceremony was held aboard the Creole Queen Riverboat in New Orleans, La.

Partners developed, designed, funded, constructed, installed, and operate six Oil and Oily Bilgewater Recovery Units in the Coastal Bend Region of Texas. The partnership developed in November 2000 with a request from the City of Aransas Pass for assistance with an oil spill and discharge problem in Conn Brown Harbor from marine craft with no place to discharge engine waste. Jim Needham, of TAMU-CC, worked with the Coast Guard and the Texas General Land Office (TGLO) to pull together a group of stakeholders dedicated to finding a solution.

During a series of stakeholder meetings each partner’s needs and concerns were addressed and obstacles such as funding, finding a site, and the reluctance of some boat operators to go to a separate facility to pump out were overcome. The result was a portable, skid-mounted, recovery-only unit that is placed on fuel docks where boat operators buy their fuel, oil, and ice. This encourages boat operators to pump their bilges and dispose of their waste oil while they load fuel and other supplies. Soon, other harbors and marinas asked to be included in the project.

All of the stakeholders agreed to key conditions of the project and to share in project tasks. TAMU-CC obtained and installed the units, via a series of grants totaling $185,850 from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program, the Coastal Management Program, and the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program. Facility owners maintain and operate the units, and the TGLO removes and recycles the waste from the units.

The first of their kind units were installed during October and November 2003. Each unit consists of a skid equipped with a double-wall 2,000 gallon bilgewater tank, a double-wall 300 gallon waste oil tank, and corresponding pumps and hoses.

Partners are TAMU-CC, TGLO Oil Spill Division, U.S. Coast Guard, City of Corpus Christi, City of Port Aransas, Aransas County Navigation District, Gulf King Seafood Company, JBS Seafood Company, and Odessa Pump Company. Since activating the units early in 2004, more than 20,500 gallons of oily bilgewater and 1,200 gallons of waste engine oil have been recovered and recycled.

"The Gulf Guardian Award winners for 2004 are prime examples of collaborative environmental efforts leading to neighborhood solutions that transcend political boundaries,” said Benjamin Grumbles, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water in Washington, D.C. “I commend all of the winners for their innovative partnerships, common sense ideas, and hard work. Their efforts are making a difference in protecting and restoring the Gulf of Mexico.”

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. Award entries were received from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. A first, second, and third place award are given each year in six categories – individual, business, youth and education, nonprofit organizations, government, and partnership efforts.

Gulf of Mexico Program Office Director Bryon O. Griffith said, “This year’s Gulf Guardian Award winners encapsulate the essence of the Gulf of Mexico Program and our efforts to attain environmental solutions in concert with economic growth.” “Environmental successes are exponential when you bring the resources of many to the table, as the 2004 winners have so successfully demonstrated.”

For a list of all the Gulf Guardian Award winners for 2004, visit the Gulf of Mexico Program web site at https://www.epa.gov/gmpo and click on the Gulf Guardian Award button.

The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.

Editor’s Note: For more information about the Gulf Guardian Awards and the Gulf of Mexico Program, call Terry Hines Smith at 228-688-1159. For more information about the Oil and Oily Bilgewater Recovery Unit, call Jim Needham at Texas A&M, Corpus Christi, at 361-825-2708.

Gulf of Mexico Program Office
Mail Code: EPA/GMPO
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000
FAX: 228-688-2709

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