Stemming from the Choctaw word for “Long river,” the Atchafalaya River is a distributary of the Mississippi and forms some three hundred miles from its mouth, making a southward beeline through Louisiana to the Gulf of Mexico. About 15 miles from where it empties into the Gulf, at Atchafalaya Bay, the river is bookended by the towns of Berwick and Morgan City.
The location is close enough to the bay that tidal forces are a daily phenomenon. More notably, the area plays a significant role in the oil industry – it proudly claims to be the birthplace of offshore oil exploration-and as such, there are numerous oil storage and transport facilities located along the Atchafalaya. The area’s recurrent tidal fluctuations posed a major problem for one such oil storage facility, and a spray application of polyurea became the ideal, and perhaps the only, solution.