Gov. Report: BP Oil Remains in Deepwater Sediments
December 19, 2010
(ChattahBox US News)—Eight months after one of the worst oil disasters in the country, toxic oil still lingers in limited areas in deepwater sediments near the location of the blown Macondo wellhead. A government report also found oil slicks in shallow areas of the Gulf that could eventually wash ashore. Efforts to remove the spill near shore will continue, but there is little that can be done to clean the deepwater contamination, except for allowing nature to clean it naturally.
Government scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration acknowledged the government’s remaining efforts will focus on continued monitoring and removing any remaining recoverable oil on the surface, but the deepwater contamination will have to be removed by microbes.
‘”We’ve reached that point of diminishing returns,” said Charlie Henry, a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration involved in the report. Tests show levels of oil contamination that could threaten organisms in the Gulf. But “there’s no longer any action we can take” to remove spilled BP oil far offshore, he said.”
“Closer in, from Florida to Louisiana, patches of oil remain in the water beside some beaches that were hit particularly hard by the spill. Some of that oil clearly “is from the Macondo well,” said Sam Walker, another NOAA scientist.”
BP officials hailed the report as evidence that the Gulf of Mexico is largely free of oil and contamination, but the report, entitled “Summary Report for Sub-sea and Sub-surface Oil and Dispersant Detection: Sampling and Monitoring,” does not evaluate long-term environmental damage.
“This report is not intended to quantify the remaining oil nor determine the fate of unrecoverable oil. It is also not intended to evaluate long term damage caused by the spill. Rather, it will guide responders and allow clean-up workers to respond most effectively as they continue to clean up any remaining recoverable oil.”
The US Justice Department recently filed a lawsuit against BP and eight other companies for the damage done to the Gulf of Mexico.