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Defending a coastline from oil, Florida turns to recycled carpet

22
Jun '10
In their efforts to protect the Gulf Coast from the mammoth runaway oil slick, emergency responders have turned to an array of standard defenses such as booms and industrial skimmers.

But as part of their coastal defenses, officials in Walton County, Florida, also are employing tried and true technologies in non-traditional ways. One standout example is the use of GeoHay, a highly absorbent recycled carpet product, as a defense for the slick threatening the Florida coastline.

Designed for erosion control, GeoHay works by allowing water to flow through its structure while trapping suspended sediments such as oil.

GeoHay is a substitute for staked hay bales and silt fences that are normally used to meet the permit requirement for temporary erosion control at construction sites. Unlike hay bales, GeoHay is reusable and does not fall apart or decompose with use.

Rolls of GeoHay are part of the emergency management plan in Walton County to protect the coastal dune lakes and their white sand beaches. The plan calls for lining jersey barriers with GeoHay to greatly increase the level of protection.

In a statement outlining its coastal defense plan, Walton County Sheriff's Office said that "GeoHay is made from 100 percent recycled synthetic fiber. This product acts as a filter and is highly absorbent, as well as non-biodegradable, strong and durable."

"GeoHay is an excellent example of recycled carpet product coming onto the market to fill a critical need," said Georgina Sikorski, executive director of Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE). "Even though GeoHay was designed for erosion control and not for absorbing oil, it makes perfect sense to use it that way."

She noted that GeoHay is addressing two environmental needs: "The immediate one, which is to protect beaches and wetlands, and CARE's long-term goal of reducing waste going to landfills."

Carpet America Recovery Effort


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