December 16 - December 20, 2019

Last month, a 380,000-gallon oil leak was reported near Edinburgh, North Dakota. At first, the spill was reported to affect 22,500 square feet of land, but later that number was reported to actually be 10 times that amount, totaling roughly 209,100 square feet. Do you think the industry needs a better system when estimating environmental damages during initial response times?

Answers Votes
Yes. 77%
No. 20%
Other (Please respond in the comments). 2%

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Tagged categories: Accidents; Asia Pacific; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Health and safety; Infrastructure; Latin America; North America; Z-Continents

Comment from Michael Halliwell, (12/16/2019, 11:23 AM)

A bit of a loaded question. It's like saying "Do you think the auto insurance industry should compensate you based on a damage estimate at the scene?" As an environmental engineer, I have seen cases where what has appeared to be a huge spill has been superficial and resulted in a very low clean-up volume; and other cases where "it's just a little spill" in terms of surface area has turned into a major remediation undertaking. Part of the issue is the pressure from regulators and the media to give the area/volume of a spill within hours of an many cases, you can't get any analytical results that fast so you're left with a "guess and golly" estimate. Needless to say, that doesn't often work. Air fall (spray, which can be hard to see), overland flow and the time required to get analytical data make it really hard to get an accurate initial estimate when the first question out of everyone's mouth is "how much?" Not everything is "point and click" fast in this day of instant everything....if you want accuracy, you need to let the pros get in there, do their job and evaluate a situation before pressuring them to come up with an area or volume of a spill. Otherwise, you're going to get something that can be wildly wrong (over or under).

Comment from Donald Flynn, (12/18/2019, 3:31 PM)

It is baldly apparent that under representing the first report is tied to public perception/reaction, environmental stakeholder reaction and investor reaction.

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