Natural Resource Damage Assessment for the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Gulf of Mexico

An oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico sank after an explosion in April 2010, resulting in the release of over 100 million gallons of crude oil.  In order to assess the injuries caused by the spill, NOAA and partner agencies immediately initiated the largest Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) ever conducted under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.  EcoChem provided analytical quality assurance oversight and data validation for more than 20,000 samples collected over five years. Primary tasks undertaken by EcoChem included:

  • Authoring the project-wide analytical quality assurance plan and documentation requirements guidance for laboratories;
  • Advising on quality assurance documents such as workplans and standard operating procedures for special analytical techniques;
  • Validating data from analysis of water, marine sediment, and tissue samples analyzed for alkylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), total extractable hydrocarbons (TEH), volatile organics, dispersants, biomarkers, metals, and additional variables;
  • Working with the NRDA data management team to develop a project-specific electronic data deliverable format for submitting validated data to NOAA’s database;
  • Auditing field sample collection and laboratory analytical methods;
  • Monitoring and coordinating with analytical laboratories.