Environmental impact of offshore brine disposal associated with petroleum storage activities Conference Paper uri icon


  • © Copyright 1981 Offshore Technology Conference. In September 1977 engineers and scientists at Texas A&M University began a study to assess the environmental impact of the eventual discharge of a brine effluent from the Bryan Mound site of the Department of Energy's Strategic Petroleum Reserve Program. This site is the first of several storage sites planned for the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The brine effluent of up to 680, 000 barrels per day at 90% saturation is the result of leaching storage caverns in the underground salt dome at Bryan Mound near Freeport, Texas, or the result of filling already leached caverns with petroleum. The organization and management philosophy for an interdisciplinary team of principal investigators is discussed. The primary project study areas are physical oceanography, analysis of the discharge plume, water and sediment quality, nekton, benthos, phytoplankton, zooplankton, and these areas are supported by management, field and data management components . This paper summarizes the results from the predisposai and intensive postdisposal periods. During these periods, the project has generated a unique collection of base line data which have been collected for coastal waters over an extended period of time and placed in the public domain. These records include three years of continuous physical oceanography data, at a single point and one year of both cross shelf and longshore measurements with a three meter-three depth array, three years of benthic data over a wide cross shelf grid, three years of bi-monthly nekton sampling and 1 year of monthly day-night sampling over a grid extending 25 miles offshore, extensive water and sediment analysis, and one year of monthly zooplankton and phytoplankton data. Results of these programs and the brine plume measurement and an initial evaluation of the nature and extent of the brine impact are discussed.

author list (cited authors)

  • Randall, R. E., & Hann, R. W.

publication date

  • January 1981