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Students and refinery workers train to handle oil spills - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

Students and refinery workers train to handle oil spills

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A boom was laid out Friday to contain an imaginary oil spill in the downtown marina. A boom was laid out Friday to contain an imaginary oil spill in the downtown marina.
A skimmer was launched to suck up the imaginary oil as part of a training exercise Friday in the downtown marina. A skimmer was launched to suck up the imaginary oil as part of a training exercise Friday in the downtown marina.
CORPUS CHRISTI -

An alarming site in the downtown Corpus Christi marina on Friday was only a drill.

Yellow absorbent boom was laid out in a circle around an imaginary oil spill, and a special "skimmer boat" was launched to suck up the spill.

The exercise was the final component of a 40-hour class that not only included students from Texas A&M Corpus Christi, but also representatives from several area refineries.

The group of 36 has learned to contain an oil spill, collect it, and divert it from wildlife habitat.

Friday's drill was very close to the real thing, without all the mess.

National Spill Control School director Tony Wood says, "The truth is we're not working with real oil, so they don't have to put on the white Tyvex suits, but they do have an opportunity to enjoy the pleasant weather we're having and learn the skills they need in a real response situation."

Student Julie Wetherholt says it is by far the best class she has taken in her college experience.

"They teach you a lot of oil spill prevention, and then the last couple of days we've been going out on the boats, really putting to use all the oil response techniques that we've been using, so it's really good experience," she says.

Wood says Friday was an exceptionally good day for training, due to the light winds and calm water.

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