By: Bariton Lezabbey
There is good news from the Bodo Project. Sediment samples taken for chemical analyses of remediated areas confirm that procedures in place for verifying an area as ready for mangrove planting are working. To date, petroleum hydrocarbon results received for all samples from 90 Grids are below required government levels for sign-off. There are a total of 363 Grids (defined work areas) covering almost 1000 ha, so these results obtained from nearly 25% of the Grids are a good step in the right direction.
The Project’s Remediation Action Plan defines three phases of the Bodo Project viz: Free-Phase Removal completed in 2018, Remediation, and then Revegetation. Chemical Analyses are required by Nigeria regulatory agencies to initiate closeout of the Remediation Phase to ensure that the work area meets the Site-Specific Target Levels (SSTLs). Levels were determined using a Risk Based Corrective Action approach and included a detailed site characterization, review of the literature related to effects of hydrocarbons on people, and an analysis of hydrocarbon uptake in food sources in the Bodo aquatic environment.
Chemical sampling was undertaken by a dedicated Project Chemical Sampling Team working with the Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT) team. To ensure an open and transparent process, these teams include BMI staff members and field representatives from the Bodo community, SPDC, Civil Society Organizations, and Government regulators. An independent Nigeria certified laboratory completes the analysis.
Combined with the successful planting of over 220,000 mangrove seedlings to date, all showing very high survival rates in remediated and chemically confirmed Grids, the Bodo Project is delineating a pathway on how to clean and restore similarly damaged mangrove habitats across the Niger Delta.
Some of the lessons learnt on the Bodo Cleanup Project is that inter-tidal remediation is very different from land remediation, which makes it more hard-hitting to handle. However, the purpose fit technology deployed for the Bodo creek cleanup together with a team of well-trained oil spill remediators, has made it realistic to achieve a major milestone.