Monday, June 21, 2010


I found this very interesting site that provided a student guide to oil spills.  In Nigeria spills are commonplace at the Niger River Delta. This also support my theory in a previous post about making the Mississippi Delta the focal point of oil collection and decontamination.

What happens after a spill occurs?

Response teams often protect sensitive areas with booms (floating barriers) and help oiled wildlife by cleaning birds and fur-bearing mammals with detergent. The most common cleanup techniques are outlined below:
  • Containment and recovery: Surround the oil with booms and recover the oil (for cleaning and reuse) with skimmers. Skimmers separate oil from the water by:
    • centripetal force -- water is heavier than oil and spins out further so the oil can be pumped out
    • lifting oil on a conveyor belt off the water surface; or
    • wringing out the oil that clings to oleophilic (oil-attracting) rope mops.
    This technique is the most widely used as it is least destructive, but it is only 10-15% efficient under even the best circumstances.
  • Sorbents: Remove oil with absorbent sponges made from diaper-like substances. Some sorbents are made from natural materials -- straw, grasses, coconut husks, or wood chips.
  • Dispersants: These are chemicals that act like detergents to break oil up into tiny droplets to dilute the oil's effect and to provide bite-sized bits for oil-eating bacteria that occur naturally, particularly in areas that have had a history of oil spillage.
  • Burning: Burning is usually 95-98% efficient, but does cause black smoke. The smoke is not more toxic than if the oil were burned as intended in fuels. One gallon of oil burned this way creates the same pollutants as three logs in a fireplace or woodstove.
  • Bioremediation: Enhancing natural biodegradation by natural oil-eating bacteria by providing them with needed fertilizers or oxygen.
  • Shoreline cleanup: High-pressure hosing to rinse oil back into water to be skimmed up. This usually does more harm than good by driving the oil deeper into the beach and by killing every living thing on the beach. This was used extensively after the Exxon Valdez spill due to public and state pressure to make the beaches "look clean again," despite the known risks. Areas left alone to be weathered by winter storms were shown to be cleaner and harboring more life than those cleaned by high-pressure washing. (Short term aesthetic considerations should not override the more basic longer term ecological considerations in rehabilitating a beach.)
  • Do nothing: Particularly in open ocean spills, cleanup is difficult and not efficient. Wave action and photo-oxidation (from sun) helps to break oil down.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Some interesting links to investigate the oil spill on 6/16/2010

Here are some helpful links that provide information about the spill. Some of the lower links provide speculative information that you should read cautiously. I would read them the same way that I read the Drudge Report. I would recognize that they are earnest people trying to make sense out of this oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico. It is important that we do not give up, but keep trying to solve this problem.

Beth Buczynski Beth Buczynski is a freelance copy writer and environmental blogger living in Northern Colorado. She holds a Master's in Public Communication and Technology with specialization in Environmental Communication from Colorado State University, and is passionate about leaving this planet in better shape than she found it. She is collecting hair and sending it to the gulf.

BPOilSpill on Twitter. A great source of very current information. 

CNN The night the oil rig exploded: Escape from a fire-breathing monster

ABC News Crude oil sucking barges ordered to stop by the Coast Guard. 

President Obama  Addresses the crisis

Associated Press   Pay czar and 9/11 arbiter takes on oil spill money

CBS News   Fishing industry in the Bay Area already greatly effected.

CBS Live video

Reuters  Citi Bank suspends foreclosure rates near the spill.

EPA  Clean Water Act

CBS News Oil Spill threatened Australia's barrier reef before the Gulf.

Oil-eating microbes a possible solution

Mother Jones  Citi Bank suspends foreclosure rates near the spill.

Gideon's Fleece  A page like mine attempting to keep you informed.

Huntsville Conservative Examiner  100,000 barrels per day discharge in the Gulf: BP says worse case scenario

Video Cafe Oil industry expert Simmons says that the spill could be spewing 100-150,000  Barrels per day.

Crooks and liars BP bars access to Gulf oil clean up sites.

Reef Builders Gulf oil spill threatens a reef restoration project.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Twitter brainstorming session! Please post here!

We need to harness the brain power of the entire country to solve this problem. I have started a BLOG and twitter campaign to capture ideas that can stimulate solutions. The people of our country have solved more serious issues than this in the past. The conflict at the base of the American Revolution was not easily solved, but because many people volunteered their time and ingenuity they resolved it. Too many people are waiting for experts to solve this problem for them. My twitter campaign is #twitterbrainstorming. My BLOG is I am a high school teacher that cares about his country and the ramifications of the oil spill on the world. This is my only qualification and special interest to solve this problem.

I suggest that we reverse the flow of the Mississippi to pull the oil slick into Yellow Cotton and Bastian Bays. Perhaps there we can use some of Kevin Costner's machines to separate the oil from the water.

My giant clam analogy may make you laugh, but if that laughter stimulates a solution to this problem, then I am very content to be laughed at. It is better than complaining about BP or blaming others for negligence. The time for this type of action should be after we stop proposing solutions to this problem.

Please consider posting a solution on the BP website or my BLOG. Here is the BP idea submission form.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Watch this video! Lets solve this thing

Twitter brainstorming session! Please post here!

  1. Pat Parris pparris9 #twitterbrainstorming #oilspill Efforts to Limit the Flow of Spill News -
  2. Pat Parris pparris9 #twitterbrainstorming #oilspill Lets suggest solutions and not just complain about BP
  3. Pat Parris pparris9 #twitterbrainstorming #oilspill I will tweet a new idea when I see someone suggest another idea. include the hastags #twitterbrainstorming
  4. Pat Parris pparris9 #twitterbrainstorming #oilspill proactive hurricane strategy. Move New Orleans to Baton Rouge
  5. Pat Parris pparris9 #twitterbrainstorming #oilspill Nuke the leak
  6. Pat Parris pparris9 #twitterbrainstorming @oilspill Let the Dutch help!
  7. Pat Parris pparris9 #twitterbrainstorming BP @oilspill: Five outside-the-box solutions to capping and cleanup
  8. Pat Parris pparris9 #oilspill #twitterbrainstorming Could golf balls and tyres now stop the oil flow?
  9. Pat Parris pparris9 #twitterbrainstorming #oilspill, the President should hold a cash contest to solve the problem
  10. Pat Parris pparris9 #twitterbrainstorming #oilspill, Kevin Cosner's oil separation machines
  11. Pat Parris pparris9 #twitterbrainstorming to fix #oilspill Use clams!
  12. Pat Parris pparris9 Why not hay bales? They may not work on the water, but will they work on the beach? #oilspill #twitterbrainstorming 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Operation Clam can fix the Oil Spill on June 7th.

On April 29th. I wrote a BLOG post to suggest something awful. The suggestion was to move New Orleans to Baton Rouge and make The New Orleans area into a wildlife refuge to soak up the oil slick like a giant sponge. I now realize that I used the wrong sea creature for my analogy. BP has begun to contain the spill. I am changing my suggested strategy to a that of a sucking clam. I suggest that we reverse the flow of the Mississippi to pull the oil slick into Yellow Cotton and Bastian Bays. I would also suggest that I would never have considered this idea without making the first suggestion. Sometimes counter-intuitive thinking can produce results.

You can think of the area as a large clam instead of a sponge. The Mississippi would be the main siphon. Many of the current efforts are breaking up the oil slick. This is the opposite strategy that we should be using. If the slick is compacted then we will better be able to contain it. Once the slick starts to be sucked into the delta then the sludge can be gathered into greater concentrations and the remaining sea water expelled into the ocean. Pumping water out of the bays in large enough concentrations could cause a reverse flow in the delta

Once the reverse flow started the ocean water could be captured with Booms: large floating barriers that round up oil and lift the oil off the water, skimmers would skim the oil, sorbents would absorb oil, Chemical and biological agents would help to break down the oil, vacuums would remove oil from beaches and filtered with a large number of clams and then forced out by the pumps.The bays of the delta would be operating very similarly to a giant clam.

River flows have been reversed before through locks. The canal that reversed the flow of the Chicago river took eight years to build in 1892. If we could do this in 1892 what could we accomplish with the Mississippi river today? In 1812 the Mississippi actually ran backward after an earthquake. There is evidence the the world's largest river, the Amazon, once flowed in the opposite direction from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. Perhaps we would only need to reverse the flow at the top 3 inches of the water to gather 70% of the spillage. 

Time is not on our side. Hurricane season in the gulf has already begun on June 1st. As I write this BLOG there is no indication of hurricanes right now. This can rapidly change. We need a new strategy that will remove the bulk of the slick before the slick is even more disbursed.