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Taming the Tide of Data from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill


The 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Response generated hundreds of thousands of environmental data points over the course of several years. The data were generated by Battelle researchers and a host of other programs, agencies, laboratories and organizations, each using their own observation and measurement methods and data recording conventions. BP asked Battelle to collect all of the data generated from the response into a single database system: the Health, Safety and Environment Data Management System (HSE-DMS).


The new database collected all response data – including analytical chemistry data from air, water, sediment and tissue; hydrocarbon fingerprint data; toxicity data; shoreline cleanup data; air and water sensor data; industrial hygiene data; cleanup waste data; and fish and shellfish testing data – into one system for storage, query and analysis. Battelle designed, built and populated the database and data management system, standardized the data and developed a quality management system (QMS) for BP and its contractors to support consistent and rigorous verification of reported data.


The HSE-DMS allowed BP, its contractors and others involved in the response program to turn vast quantities of environmental data from disparate sources into meaningful conclusions and effective environmental restoration decisions.