Biloxi company cleaning oily boom with new process

(Photo source: Greg Knox/Brunswick Group)
(Photo source: Greg Knox/Brunswick Group)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Rebecca Powers – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A new boom decontamination station was unveiled in Biloxi Tuesday. A construction company that usually builds courthouses and casinos, invented a way to clean oily boom so it can be stored, recycled or used again.

In just one month, Yates Construction revolutionized the way marine boom is de-contaminated. And in the process, created 60 new jobs.

Ever wonder what happens to all those miles and miles of dirty boom?

Yates Construction company has figured out a way to process used boom at their East Biloxi facility. They created and built a semi-automated system to clean marine boom to be stored, recycled or used again.

Owner of Yates Construction, Bill Yates, said it's a long and very thorough process. He said the booms are first fed through a conveyer belt and sprayed with an organic cleanser. Then they are flipped over on to a second conveyer. The back side is inspected, just in case anything was missed in the primary washer. They are then touched up and inspected again.

Then it's rinsed another time before going through a final drying station. William Yates says BP asked them to find a way to clean and process boom faster and they did.

Bill's son, William Yates, said, "So we took that as a challenge... put all our best heads together and came up with what we thought was a little bit better mouse trap."

BP CEO for Gulf Coast Restoration Bill Utsler said this is another good thing to come from a terrible tragedy.

"In the event that we ever need to use this process again, it's here. And skimming technologies have advanced. The recovery of tar balls before they come to the shoreline, many differing ideas have been developed over the course of this response and most of those ideas have come from local people," Utsler said.

Yates Construction Company has a patent pending for their new boom decontamination invention.

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