Most oil spills are small and preventable, and many are accidental. That’s why the Texas General Land Office wants to educate Texans about small spills and how they can comply with the law and help protect the Texas coast.
Bilge Water Reclamation Program
One way the agency makes compliance easier is through its Bilge Water Reclamation Program, which operates collection facilities for waste oil, oil filters and bilge water at the busiest Texas ports. The facilities are free of charge and have collected over 3 million gallons of contaminated bilge water and oil, which might otherwise have been dumped. Learn More
Cleaning up beaches and bays after hurricanes is another Land Office responsibility. After Hurricane Ike devastated the Texas coast in September 2008, the Land Office contracted and oversaw the removal of vast amounts of beach debris. The agency also handled the removal of derelict vessels in Texas bays after Ike. Learn More
Operation Scupper Plug
Operation Scupper Plug is an outreach program for teaching vessel operators how to avert accidental fuel leaks by plugging drainage ports known as “scuppers.” The program teaches other simple preventive measures, like placing absorbent pads around refueling sites on vessels to prevent spilled fuel from entering coastal waters.
The Land Office also offers information on proper fueling procedures, vessel maintenance and hydraulic systems, which can prevent spills from occurring.
Land Office personnel also patrol Texas harbors and waterways with boats and aircraft, and use ground vehicles to monitor oil-handling facilities and docks. Patrolling helps agency personnel identify new facilities, monitor vessels and spot unreported spills. Since January 2003, agency personnel have conducted almost 11,000 vehicle and boat patrols. Learn More
Organizations and individuals that excel in preparedness and prevention are recognized by the Land Office at its annual Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act Awards ― commonly known as the “OSPRA Awards” in the spill response community. OSPRA Awards are given to those who greatly exceed minimum requirements for preventing oil spills.