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Custom-Made Spill Response Barriers

During the response to many oil spills in coastal or inland waters, the use of manufactured booms has often been supplemented by the use of devices put together by response teams in emergency situations.

In many cases, due to the site characteristics, the pollutant's behaviour or insufficient or even a complete lack of specific response means, responders build makeshift devices with
locally available resources to contain, deflect or trap the pollutant or to protect sensitive areas.
The efficiency of these custom-made barriers is highly variable according to the materials and techniques employed.
The use of custom-made barriers may therefore be considered, however these barriers should not be improvised in an emergency but rather should have been designed, tried and tested, as part of a response planning and preparedness effort.
The second section of this guide comprises practical datasheets for various custom-made barriers.
These datasheets present the deployment conditions, equipment required, benefits and limitations observed in the field for each type of barrier. This is in no way an exhaustive inventory of what could be imagined. On the basis of the
information presented and the many illustrations provided, readers will be able to determine the most appropriate equipment for the situation in hand, and then to assess the chosen solution during exercises.
This guide is mainly intended for public and private personnel in charge of spill response preparedness, but also for response teams, who will find practical advice on building devices that can then be adapted to the given situation.


Table of contents



A.1 - What is a custom-made barrier?
A.2 - Why use custom-made barriers?
A.3 - Preparing for an efficient response
A.4 - Acquiring and managing stockpiles



B.1 - Suitable conditions for using custom-made barriers
B.2 - Different types of custom-made barriers
B.3 - Positioning a custom-made barrier
B.4 - Choice matrix for custom-made barriers
B.5 - Logistical requirements



C.1 - Maintaining barriers in use
C.2 - Dismantling and managing used barriers
C.3 - Replenishing stockpiles



D.1 - Erika, France 1999
D.2 - Prestige, Spain 2002
D.3 - Ambès, France 2007
D.4 - Gabon, 2007
D.5 - Theys, France 2009
D.6 - Aber Ildut, France 2010



Sheet 1: Complete blockage by a bund
Sheet 2: Complete blockage by planks
Sheet 3: Complete blockage of a pipe by a plug
Sheet 4: Containment by an overflow dam
Sheet 5: Containment by an underflow dam
Sheet 6: Containment by a bund with angled pipes
Sheet 7: Containment - Trapping - Sorption at the surface
Sheet 8: Water column filtration by a filter cartridge
Sheet 9: Water column filtration by vegetation held by a barrier
Sheet 10: Water column filtration by netting
Sheet 11: Protection of water intakes by filtration
Sheet 12: Containment - Deflection - Protection by wooden surface barriers
Sheet 13: Containment - Deflection - Protection by faggots of vegetation
Sheet 14: Containment - Deflection - Protection by a custom-made floating boom
Sheet 15: Shoreline protection by a permanent dyke
Sheet 16: Adaptation of port or industrial infrastructures
Sheet 17: Dynamic recovery - Booms towed by boats



F.1 - Glossary and acronyms
F.2 - Bibliography


The file below is an extract. To order the full version in electronic form, please send an email to:


Paper version
not available (pdf: €25)