Port of Gulfport commissioners puzzled by high cost of bubble cu - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Port of Gulfport commissioners puzzled by high cost of bubble curtain

The port is about to build a new barge mooring system that will require the driving of large, steel pilings. (Photo source: WLOX) The port is about to build a new barge mooring system that will require the driving of large, steel pilings. (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction. A federal requirement for something called a bubble curtain left Port of Gulfport commissioners rolling their eyes, scratching their heads, and turning to Google for information.

The port is about to build a new barge mooring system that will require the driving of large, steel pilings. It seems the noise from that could have ill effects on nearby fish and other marine life.

That's why the National Marine Fisheries Service is requiring the port to install a bubble curtain to dampen the sound and save the fish. The cost of just the design work for that device is $12,000.

"That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard," said Commissioner Bobby Knesal.

Another commissioner was heard saying, "Wouldn't it be cheaper just to buy them little headphones?"

Joking aside, the cost and the federal regulation are both very real.

The board approved the $12,000 design cost. Knesal told the staff he wants an accurate accounting of what the bubble curtain will cost in its entirety.

By the way, much like it sounds, a bubble curtain produces a wall of bubbles in the water around the piling project. It’s designed to dampen any harmful sound waves created by the marine construction.

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