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. 

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