If you’ve ever driven past a car dealership, you might recognize this distinct silhouette: an air-filled tube with tentacle hair and run-amok limbs, dancing by the side of the road while air courses through its hollow body. Known as tube men or skydancers, these inflatable figures are eyesores that mark commercial dealerships. But in another context and alongside other unusual technology, they are integral to keeping wildlife safe when a pipeline release occurs.
The staff at Western Canadian Spill Services—a co-op that helps members respond to oil and gas emergencies—are pros when it comes to spill preparedness and environmental protection. They demonstrated their spill response equipment recently to emergency response staff from the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) and to members of the Western Cree Tribal Council who specialize in conservation and land use. The group learned what technology goes into keeping the environment, as well as the living things up the food chain, safe.
Stop Right There
When substances are released into a water body, operators must respond quickly to clean up. Because hydrocarbon substances are harmful to the environment, best practice for emergency response is to go big quickly with the response: take all the equipment and human resources that could possibly be needed to the scene, and scale back only when you know more.
Holding Them at Bay
While booms are in place to protect the area’s flora—and to prevent birds and mammals from eventually picking at grasses that are oil-fed—more must be done on a spill site to make sure that wildlife stays away from the danger. A number of deterrents are used—some visual, some auditory.
Drop Us a Line
AER inspection and emergency response staff are on call throughout the province, 365 days a year. If you believe there is an oil and gas emergency such as a pipeline release in your area, call 1-800-222-6514 to bring our incident response team to the scene.
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