Oil Slick Blasted With Record Dose of Cleanup Chemical
Oil dispersant helps break up slick
By Jane Yager, Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2010 10:35 AM CDT
A slick of oil is seen in Chandeleur Sound, La., Tuesday, May 4, 2010.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – The massive oil slick bobbing in the Gulf of Mexico still hasn't reached shore, thanks in part to the unprecedented doses of an oil-dispersing chemical that are being dropped on it. The spill is being blasted with as much as 60,000 gallons of the dispersant each day, by way of planes above and remote-control robots on the seafloor that are spraying it directly at the oil gushing out of the leaking well, the Wall Street Journal reports. That far outweighs the biggest previous use: 166,000 gallons on a 1996 spill off the UK coast.

The dispersant breaks down oil into tiny particles that can then be absorbed by natural bacteria. While dispersant can cause environmental damage itself, experts say its impact pales in comparison to the damage from an oil spill. With rough weather and favorable winds also helping keep the oil offshore, officials are frantically searching the globe for stockpiles of dispersant. A containment dome is on a barge out to the leak, and will "hopefully" be operational by the end of the week, said a BP executive.

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Comments
Showing 3 of 13 comments
askies
May 8, 2010 9:14 AM CDT
Dumping more stuff into the water seems a little counterproductive.
rcinsd03
May 6, 2010 9:37 PM CDT
Does anyone know who is responsible for maintaining the pumps or who profits from the oil? And why havnt any arrests been made? Our news media must be getting nice bribes to kepp from asking these questions
Sundiata
May 5, 2010 7:28 PM CDT
Every single rig in our waters poses this much danger...from reading the posts of big oil defenders, these platforms burn out and explode all the time...wake up the 20th century is over. we need alternative energy, for every right wing "conserve"ative out there who thinks a wind farm is ugly, try putting the slick in your back yard, still think the wind farm is ugly?