BP oil spill: Clean up of gulf waters continues

Sponsored by

May 12, 2010 -- Yesterday, crews lowered a second containment box, called a 'top hat', to cap the broken well pipe spewing light crude into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

This containment box is designed to allow injection of methanol and hot water, which will hopefully combat the formation of hydrates. It's these ice-like crystals that caused the first, larger containment box to clog.

BP hopes, once again, that this will stem the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, but cautions that these mitigation strategies have not been attempted before under these same conditions, namely a mile below the surface. The 'top hat' is expected to be operational by Thursday.

The U.S. military has also provided commercial and military aircraft to transport a boom to help combat the spill.

Oil dispersants are also being used to try to break up the crude substance. Some experts are concerned that this strategy could produce more harm than good, exposing marine life and volunteers to highly toxic chemicals.

BP has been spraying the chemical over the surface of the water. More dispersant has been used in cleaning up this oil spill than has ever been before -- more than 350,000 gallons so far -- something that has experts and environmentalists concerned. Tests are being conducted on the potential effects of the chemical and EPA and NOAA officials will be reviewing the data to determine whether the practice should continue.

Meanwhile, tar balls -- some as large as notebooks -- have begun to wash ashore Louisiana beaches. BP contractors and volunteers in Alabama continue to prepare for possible landfall along the state's coast. Workers are laying a boom across Mobile Bay to try to keep the oil out.

While the exact cause of the April 20 explosion is yet to be determined, BP, Transocean, and Halliburton representatives pointed fingers at each other at a hearing in Washington, DC, yesterday. A failed blow-out preventer and faulty cement casing are emerging as the favorite likely causes, but speculation and investigation continue.

It's being estimated that about 4 million gallons of oil has been spilled thus far. Spewing at a rate of about 210,000 gallons per day, the amount of oil spilling into the Gulf waters could very soon surpass the Exxon Valdez accident, which spilled 11 million gallons into Prince William Sound in March 1989.

###

Sponsored by

TODAY'S HEADLINES

Maryland WWTP's new solar array to serve as state's largest municipally-owned system

Standard Solar is set to install a 2.1-megawatt ground-mount solar system in Pocomoke City, Md., at the city's wastewater treatment facility. Once completed this December, it will be the largest municipally-owned system in the state.

Major Texas company to pay $1.6M civil penalty for CWA oil spill violations

The Department of Justice and the EPA have announced that Superior Crude Gathering has agreed to pay a civil penalty for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act stemming from a crude oil spill in 2010 from tanks at the company's oil storage facility in the town of Ingleside, Texas.

Bureau of Reclamation makes WaterSMART grants available to improve water, energy conservation

The Bureau of Reclamation is inviting states, tribes, water and irrigation districts, and other water- and power-related organizations to apply for funding to cost-share on projects that conserve and use water more efficiently, increase renewable energy use and improve energy efficiency.

Three major CA airports to receive new stormwater monitoring services, equipment under contract

Los Angeles World Airports has awarded a contract to Alta Environmental for consulting services up to $5 million for three years on an as-needed basis to improve stormwater monitoring for Los Angeles International Airport, Ontario International Airport and Van Nuys Airport.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA