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Oil Spill Facts

  • It’s against the law to use dish soap to hide oil that has been pumped into coastal waters.
  • Dish soap does not make the oil disappear; it spreads the oil throughout the water where the fish and shrimp are swimming.
  • The larvae of fish and shrimp develop in the top microlayer of water and are sensitive to even low levels of toxic compounds.
  • Used motor oil is more toxic than motor oil directly out of the can.
  • One gallon of oil will kill half of the fish and shrimp larvae in one million gallons of water.
  • Less than one pint of No. 2 fuel oil will greatly reduce the number of plankton in a million gallons of water.

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.

star 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

star Vessel Removal
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

star 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

star OSPRA Awards
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.

2013 OSPRA Award Winners
  • Mr. Kelly Scott, Texas A&M Forest Service
  • Lt. Patrick A. Marshal, USCG - Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: David A. Jensen, Retired Director of the National Spill Control School, Corpus Christi, Texas
2012 OSPRA Award Winners
  • Dr. James S. Bonner
2011 OSPRA Award Winners
  • Enterprise Products Operating LLC - Texas City, Texas
  • National Disaster Operational Workgroup, Nicolas Brescia - (EPA, USCG, TCEQ, TPWD & TGLO)
  • Robert Goolsby - Kirby Insland Marine LP - Channelview, Texas
  • Anthony F. (Tony) Amos - Animal Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) - Port Aransas, Texas
2010 OSPRA Award Winners
  • Alfonzo "Al" Guillen, Vice President of Student Learning Texas State Technical College, Harlingen, Texas
  • Xtreme Salvage - Houston, Texas
  • USCG Sector Houston-Galveston, Captain Marcus Woodring
2009 OSPRA Award Winners
  • Phil Glen - Clean Channel Association
  • Manuel Rodriguez - Prestige Oyster
  • Richard Arnhart - Texas General Land Office
  • Marathon Petroleum Co., LLC - Texas Refining Division
  • Debbie Morris - Matagorda County Navigation District No. 1
  • Jim O'Neil - Port Lavaca Harbor Master
  • NuStar Logistics LP, Central West Region - Nustar Energy
  • Tommy Tomblin / Brian Hansen - ExxonMobil Corporation
2008 OSPRA Award Winners
  • Citgo Refining and Chemicals, L.P.
  • Martin Midstream Partners
  • Seaway Teppco Freeport Marine Terminal
  • SPT, Inc.
2007 OSPRA Award Winners
  • Citgo Refining and Chemicals, L.P.
  • Corpus Christi Area Oil Spill Control Association

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