Monday 21 June 2010

Monitoring for Gulf clean-up

Rapid response required for monitoring disasters

Consultants and contracting engineers working on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill have drawn upon the vast equipment inventory that is available from specialist instrumentation rental company Ashtead Technology.

Speaking from the company's Baton Rouge facility in Louisiana, spokesman Randall Farr said, "Environmental disasters always necessitate a rapid, effective response from those responsible for monitoring the effects of such incidents. It is therefore essential that a wide range of the latest technologies is available at a moment's notice to ensure that this need is met. "Ashtead Technology provides a complete portfolio of monitoring equipment that is tested, calibrated and ready to go, so following the Deepwater Horizon explosion we were able to deliver the necessary equipment within a few hours of the first requests coming in."

Rental instruments have been utilised by several organisations both at the scene of the Deepwater Horizon rig and also along the affected shoreline. This equipment includes the TSI Sidepak AM510 Personal Aerosol Monitor to measure ambient air particulates that arise from gas flaring and RAE photoionisation detectors (MultiRAE, MiniRAE, and UltraRAE instruments) to measure benzene and other airborne organic pollutants. In addition, SKC Sidekick Pumps have been utilised for the sampling of gases and vapours.

Instrument rental lends itself to rapid environmental response for a number of reasons. For example, Randall Farr believes that renting ensures that the right instrument is chosen. He says, "The staff at Ashtead Technology are highly experienced with a broad range of technologies and as such they are able to recommend the best kit for the job, whereas clients that own their equipment tend to use what they've got whether it's appropriate or not. In addition, the experts at Ashtead Technology often provide technical assistance during the rental period to make sure customers get the best out of the equipment. "Major incidents generate a very large requirement for equipment so our ability to quickly mobilise a huge fleet of instruments is essential. For example, just last year, we supplied a large number of thermal cameras in response to an urgent request from organisations needing to assess the devastating effects of Hurricane Ike. In situations like this, rapid response teams tend to have a short-term requirement, so again, renting is the best option."

Ashtead Technology is a global business, but with facilities in Houston, Pasadena and Baton Rouge, the company is well placed to help with the aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

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