Processing wastewater clean enough to discharge back into the ocean. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed huge tracts of New Orleans. Not only were homes, real estate, and one of the world’s busiest ports decimated, but offshore oil rigs also suffered major damage. Coordinating the repairs required some creative thinking. Large workforces had to have access to the rigs for weeks at a time … that meant a need for additional on-site housing and a plan for Hurricane Katrina wastewater processing, ASAP.

Flat river barges were available as platforms to build worker housing, but what about sewage? Louisiana couldn’t allow a force of 120 workers to dump its effluent directly into the rivers and bayous. What they needed was a self-contained septic system built into the barge.


SludgeHammer’s Aerobic Bacterial Generator ( ABG ) — Self-contained and portable. We were contacted by an offshore contractor and asked if we could put a self-contained wastewater treatment facility on a barge that would house 150 workers, which could discharge certifiably clean effluent back into the ocean … and it needed to be completed in 3 weeks.

We rushed to the scene, demonstrated the technology, and proved it would work. Another crucial factor — we could get it up and running almost immediately as the system’s main component, the SludgeHammer ABG is modular and can be configured for any size job.

Sure enough, in only three weeks, this floating hotel had a fully functioning secondary (a standard approved by MARPOL and certified by Lloyds of London as safe for reintroduction back into an ocean environment) wastewater treatment system capable of handling a 10,000 gallons per day load.

Everything about this project was innovative

  • Shipping containers serving as individual apartments were combined with shower and toilet facilities for 150 workers.
  • Construction of a temporary, in-house, self-contained sewage treatment plant, processing effluent to secondary levels.
  • No daily accumulation of bio-solids that would require disposal.
  • The workers even had a cafeteria on board.

Implementing the wastewater treatment plant was a challenge but the unique flexibility and portability of SludgeHammer’s ABG technology got it up and running even before the worker housing was done. The contractor got the necessary worker housing to facilitate oil rig repairs, and was able to protect the sensitive river environment during the job. A win-win for everyone.