Tag Archives: Oil Pollution

Deepwater Horizon alarms were switched off

Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon April 21, 2010. A Coast Guard MH-65C dolphin rescue helicopter and crew document the fire aboard the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon, while searching for survivors April 21, 2010. Multiple Coast Guard helicopters, planes and cutters responded to rescue the Deepwater Horizon’s 126 person crew. Captions and Photo source: U.S. Coast Guard


Vital warning systems on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig were switched off at the time of the explosion in order to spare workers being woken by false alarms, a federal investigation has heard.

The revelation that alarm systems on the rig at the centre of the disaster were disabled, and that key safety mechanisms had also consciously been switched off, came in testimony by a chief technician working for Transocean, the drilling company that owned the rig…

Read Full Article, Guardian UK

First scientific proof : Oil plumes definitely from BP’s well

Oil in the surf, Orange beach, Alabama, June 2010. Captions and Photo source: ©© David Rencher


Researchers in Florida say they have the first scientific proof that two plumes of oil beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico came from BP’s broken well.

University of South Florida scientists said Friday they linked the oil to BP’s well based on chemical tests of two plumes discovered in late May. BP initially denied the plumes even existed.

Federal researchers say concentrations of underwater oil have at least doubled since last month.

Figuring out the oil’s source is pivotal as the government assesses the environmental damage caused by the massive spill and how much BP will have to pay for it.

Read Full Article, The Washington Times

Qualified Good News on Subsea Dispersed Oil Plumes: Continued Low Oil Concentrations, No Dead Zones; Science Magazine

Second Federal Analysis Gives Further Clues about Location and Movement of Subsurface Oil; NOAA
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) today released its second peer-reviewed, analytical summary report about subsurface oil monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico. The report contains preliminary data collected at 227 sampling stations extending from one to 52 kilometers from the Deepwater Horizon/BP wellhead. Data shows movement of subsurface oil is consistent with ocean currents and that concentrations continue to be more diffuse as you move away from the source of the leak. This confirms the findings of the previous report.

BP Weighs New Way to Kill Gulf Well

Gas from the damaged Deepwater Horizon wellhead is burned by the drillship Discoverer Enterprise May 16, 2010, in a process known as flaring. Gas and oil from the wellhead were being brought to the surface via a tube that was placed inside the damaged pipe. Captions and Photo source: USGS / US Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick Kelley


BP PLC was Monday considering yet another method to kill its ruptured Gulf of Mexico oil well amid concerns that the cap it installed last week could be allowing oil and gas to seep out the sides…

Read Full Article, The Wall Street Journal

Seeking more details on dispersants

Oil Dispersant
An aircraft releases chemical dispersant over an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Captions and Photo source: NOAA /US Coast Guards


U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson today urged Congress to take up legislation strengthening her agency’s authority over oil dispersants in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico gusher, calling for more testing and disclosure of the chemical ingredients in the controversial spill-fighting products…

Read Full Article, The New York Times.

Suit filed seeking more details on dispersants, AP
BP’s use of chemicals to disperse the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is coming under renewed scrutiny, as environmentalists head to court to seek more information about potential health hazards and a Senate panel plans a Thursday hearing on the issue…

How Fast Can Microbes Break Down Oil Washed Onto Beaches?

Oiled sediment. This photo shows the swash zone at USGS sampling location MS-39 on East Ship Island, MS. Waves have cut a steep section into the sand, revealing alternating layers of clean and sticky organic-rich sand that are visible after low tide. (The swash zone is the zone that is alternately covered and exposed by waves.) Captions and Photo source: Shane Stocks / USGS


A new Florida State University study is investigating how quickly the Deepwater Horizon oil carried into Gulf of Mexico beach sands is being degraded by the sands’ natural microbial communities, and whether native oil-eating bacteria that wash ashore with the crude are helping or hindering that process…

Read Full Article, Science Daily

Lessons in Brazil’s oil spill after a decade

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care
WATCH: A Youtube Video


In Brazil, an oil disaster 10 years ago struck an ecosystem much like the mangrove swamps in the US now being threatened by the giant BP oil leak in the US Gulf of Mexico.

More than 1.3 million litres of oil leaked from an underwater pipeline run by Brazilian oil giant Petrobras in 2000, making it the country’s largest spill devastating delicate mangrove ecosystems and destroying local habitat.

The oil contaminated the waters of Guanabara Bay outside Rio de Janeiro, an area which the Brazilian government at the time said would recover after 10 years.

But today the once-green mangrove bay area only has thick black mud and no life left in the soil…

Youtube Video

BBC Article on Guanabara Bay Oil Spill

Glowing Oil Could Aid Gulf Spill Cleanup

Oil along the coastline. Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care.


Late last week coastal geologist Rip Kirby (University of South Florida) was on the seashore as part of an effort to detect oil by shining UV lights, widely used to spot vital fluid at crime scenes, on Gulf beaches. The method, he hopes, will allow scientists and cleanup crews to tackle hard-to-spot oil, such as crude mixed with mud or light stains on sand, that’s washed ashore from the sinking of the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig.

Under UV light, clean sand appears purple or black. Some minerals, such as calcium carbonate in seashells, glow blue, as does a shovel handle in the picture above. Tar from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill lights up orange-yellow on the beaches.

Although hydrocarbons have long been known to fluoresce, or glow, under ultraviolet light, this may be the first time the technology has been used outside a lab to spot oil…

Read Full Article; By Chris Combs, The National Geographic.