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Oil Response Training - Slow/Backwater Practical

Category: Oil Response Training

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Course Materials:

ORT Backwater Agenda

Course Description:

This 5-day course is designed for Federal On-Scene Coordinators (FOSCs) from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), State and Local responders who are involved in inland oil spill prevention and cleanup. The course is a hands-on course that demonstrates oil recovery methods in slow, backwater or marsh environments. Additional emphasis is placed on product recovery techniques in the subsurface to prevent discharges to waterways. 

Class participants will be instructed on safe boat handling techniques; boom deployment methods; map reading and use of GPS; safe operations of ATVs; use of various types of diking, damming and filter fences; and oil recovery methods from waterways and subsurface situations.

This course is usually scheduled twice a year (subject to change) or may be requested by EPA FOSCs for presentation at appropriate locations in their region. 


Instruction methods include lectures, tabletop exercises and hands-on field work that emphasize the practical and problem-solving skills related to oil spill control and clean-up in slow, backwater, and marsh conditions.

After completing this course, participants will be able to:
  • Demonstrate the operation of a work boat in backwater conditions 
  • Demonstrate proper rope knots to use in oil recovery operations 
  • Demonstrate how to determine an exact location on a map using longitude and latitude information developed using GPS. 
  • Demonstrate how to find an exact location in the field using GPS 
  • Demonstrate how to safely operate an ATV 
  • Demonstrate proper anchor methods for boom on a lake or river 
  • Deploy boom in a backwater environment for the collection of oil 
  • Demonstrate proper methods of shoreline protection 
  • Establish an oil recovery site and operate common oil recovery equipment 
  • Construct underflow dams, filter fences and weir dams 
  • Construct interceptor trenches and install French drains and cut-off walls

Course instructors may include current and former federal and state OSCs who currently serve as technical advisors in oil spill control and cleanup, and experienced oil spill responders from the private sector.

This course includes hands-on field activities that can be strenuous.  During certain phases of the course, class participants may enter the water. All participants will handle the course equipment throughout the week. Attendees will need to wear appropriate attire for field work and on-water operations. This includes appropriate work gloves, eye protection, approved field boots (steel toe), and outerwear for foul weather. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own sunscreen, insect repellent, sharp clip knife, hat, and Personal Flotation Device (PFD) since supplies will be limited. 

Class sizes are limited to 30 students.  Please contact ERT for additional information.

Continuing Education Units: 4.0

Participants must complete all modules for all days of the course to receive the course completion certificate.


*This course is offered free of charge to all registrants who are confirmed to attend.*