Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Environmental Data Management Support
Client: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Location: Gulf of Mexico
After the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that took 11 lives, oil was released for 87 days until the ruptured well was capped. As the subsequent natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) progressed into 2011, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the lead federal trustee, recognized an immediate need for increased environmental data management support. In particular, NOAA sought assistance with identifying and reconciling conflicts between different sources of field sample data and ensuring consistency throughout their environmental data management system (EDMS).
When we got the call to help, we quickly became familiar with the EDMS in use (including NOAA’s Query Manager and custom MS Access and SQL Server databases), and began designing and performing data integrity checks and GIS-based spatial analyses to identify gaps and inconsistencies in the field sample data. We have managed to stick around on the project team by showing that we can quickly adapt to changing requirements and needs, and by continuing to develop and execute new processes to integrate large data sets from multiple sources and boost field and analytical sample data quality.
In addition to improving the completeness and accuracy of field and analytical sample data available to federal and state trustees, the responsible party, and the public, our support to NOAA has helped expedite the release of these data for analysis as the NRDA progresses.