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Page 4 ■ Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chips by air could clean oil

spill ‘Green’ product makes debut in the oil patch

By LAUREN DONOVAN Bismarck Tribune

solves environmental problems with green solutions have teamed up to clean oil spills on Lake Sakakawea. It’s one of those “knock on wood” sit- uations because no one wants a major oil spill to foul the state’s largest and most critical body of water. A small spill last year that reached the

lake raised the ante. With an increasing number of oil wells near the lake and pipelines crossing it, the potential for a spill is there and growing. It’s knock on wood for a different rea-

A helicopter company and one that

special deliveries to the oil patch, to ferry people and photographers there and back and support seismic ground opera- tions. Myers said he designed a special

son. Bakken Environmental Services has invented a coating that, when sprayed on wood chips, causes the chips to repel wa- ter and attract oil. Bakken Services representative Toby

bucket that slings under the helicopter and unloads the chips right on target on water, or over a ground spill in hard-to- reach terrain. “It solved the delivery problem,” My-


Schweitzer said the company’s founder, John Simmons, of Bismarck, invented the wood chip concept, but only recently devised the trademarked organic formu- la. The spill site turns into a fl oating bed of oily chips that can be recovered with booms and suction, Schweitzer said. In a video demonstration posted on

YouTube, black oily water is clear when the chips are boomed aside. Schweitzer said he used black motor oil for the demonstration because Bak- ken crude is so light it’s almost invisible fl oating on water, other than the sheen. It’s one thing to have a product that

Mandan, came into the picture. Owner and military trained pilot

ers said. Ideally, the chips would be stored in bulk at fi ve or six strategic locations around the lake and he could make a quick pickup and be out to the spill in a relatively short time. Myers will demonstrate his helicop-

ter capability to Three Affi liated Tribes March 14 by going to remote sites that would be hard to get to otherwise. Myers and Schweitzer have presented the CCD Chips technology and helicop- ter delivery to a group of oil companies that formed a Sakakawea Area Spill Re- sponse after the small spill reached the lake in spring of 2011. The oil companies in the Sakakawea

can grab the oil off the water’s surface; it’s another to get the wood chips to the spill location. That’s where Double M Helicopter, of

Monte Myers fl ies a Bell 206 BIII heli- copter, a utility craft that he uses to make


Area Spill Response are purchasing boats, boom and other oil recovery equipment. Myers and Schweitzer said they’re hop- ing CCD Chips will become part of in- dustry’s response inventory. They’ve also pitched the product and

the helicopter delivery system to the Three Affi liated Tribes, which have res- ervation boundaries on both sides of the lake.

Schweitzer said traditional oil spill re-

TOP: John Simmons, front, and Toby Schweitzer, of Bakken Environmental Services LLC., pose in their Bismarck offi ce on March 9 with samples of the wood chip product used to contain and clean up oil spills in water. Simmons developed the patented organic coating for the shredded wood chips. BELOW: The wood chips are fi rst treated with an organic coating and then shredded. At an oil spill, the wood product is put over the spill by helicopter and then recovered by a vessel removing both the wood chips and the oil from the surface of the water.

covery methods clean up only 20 percent of the oil. “The beauty of this is up to 95 percent

of the oil actually gets removed,” he said. Schweitzer said the CCD Chips have been used at several small spills. The oily chips can be burned for disposal.

tive in preparing for a spill. We feel like we have the solution with the strategic placement of bins of the product sur- rounding the lake,” he said. (Reach reporter Lauren Donovan at 701-220-5511 or

“What we’re trying to do is be proac-

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