Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico
Imagine 2,500 to 68,000 square miles covered in 4.9 million barrels of oil. No, imagine being covered in 4.9 million barrels of oil. Picture yourself gasping for air in an ocean filled with oil. That is exactly what birds, sea turtles, dolphins, and other animals had to do after the most catastrophic oil spill of all time occurred on April 20, 2010.
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico occurred because “oil from the well shot up and out of the drill column under high pressure, extended on the drilling rig and exploded (wikipedia)”. The rig set on fire and later sank. BP, Transocean, along with government agency employer, all worked hard to avoid further ...view middle of the document...
On April 22, the US National Response Team began. It was announced that Deepwater Horizon ring sinks in 5,000ft of water. Later that week, it was announced that 1,000 barrels of oil were leaking per day. Underwater robots were sent on April 25 to try to seal the well. The underwater robots were to dive 1,500 meters below the surface of the water in attempt to ”activate the gargantuan system of pipes and valves that sits next to the well on the ocean floor. (theguardian.com)” Right from the beginning, BP admitted the robots might not be a success since the valve should have stopped the leak right from the start and therefore they were unsure whether the valve was working or not.
Three days later after announcing that 1,000 barrels of oil were leaking per day, the costal guards announce that the spill is bigger than estimated, at 5,000 barrels per day. On April 29, the oil spill reaches the gulf coast.
The coast guards then decided to burn off several thousand gallons of oil to limit damage to coastal areas. The burning went on for 28 minutes. Not everyone was in agreement with this technique. Environmentalist argued that burning off the oil would create more pollution. However, coast guards argued that the benefit outweighed the risk. At least it prevented further spread of the oil in coastal areas. This strategy is unusual, and used in an oil spill in World War II.
In the beginning of May, BP had three containment domes constructed to collect the oil that escaped from the spill. Wikipedia describes a containment dome as a ”component of the system designed to contain the underwater blowout of oil well.” 17,500 barrels of oil were collected by May 8.
Perhaps the most harmful method used by BP in attempt to clean up the oil spill was the use of Corexit. This is a chemical created by Nalco Holding Company, affiliated with BP and Exxon. It is use to dissolve oil spills. The goal is...