Tag Archive: water



07.06.2010

Today, I attended an oiled bird rehabilitation.  Never in my life, did I think I could experience such polar opposite emotions for what I witnessed.  On one hand, I was heartbroken for the oiled wildlife and the troubles that they have endured because of this man-made spill. On the other hand, I was deeply grateful that these birds made it long enough to be rehabilitated.

The Pensacola Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation (POWH), which opened in May 2010, has currently 52 birds in their captivity that consists primarily of northern gannets, high bill greens, seagulls, ferns and a few herons.  While the POWH can easily accommodate a few hundred birds, dependent on size and severity of oil coverings, the maximum that POWH has contained has been 102 birds,  bringing the total to 949 birds rescued within the four Gulf rehabilitation centers.

When a bird first enters the rehabilitation center-the oil is not cleaned right away. Many birds are in shock or frightened and they need to be stabilized and possibly re-hydrated before any further stress is placed upon the bird. It has been found that by giving the birds a couple days to recuperate has increased the survivability tenfold.

Initially, veterinarians take  blood and feather samples to test for anemia and infection and give the oiled birds a temporary tag. Then the bird is taken to an oiled bird trailer where it can rest, if needed, in a temperature controlled trailer and receive IV fluids, food and Pepto Bismo to protect its stomach lining.

Just before they are washed, the birds are sprayed with a warm canola oil to loosen oil residue on their feathers. Then they are taken to a washing tub which requires normally 3-4 people to wash one oiled bird.

Once the head and pouch is cleaned using clothes, toothbrushes and small sponges are used for delicate areas with water flushed on an almost continuous basis to keep the soap from running into the birds eyes. A bath normally lasts up to 45 minutes, and for a large bird, like a brown pelican, as much as 300 gallons of water is used.

After a scrubbing down of the bird, a thorough rinse is necessary considering that soap can interfere in the same manner as oil via hypothermia.

Newly cleaned, the birds are whisked off to a drying room to rest in a padded pen while floor-mounted pet grooming dryers blew warm air. Smaller birds and wading birds are not blow dried but instead sit in pens under warming lights.

Once their total strength is gained, birds are then permanently tagged for tracking purposes and transported to outside containment facilities to get them re-accustomed to outside surroundings before releasing them into the wild.  The birds are allowed to recover for five to seven days, regaining buoyancy and water resistance by preening, putting on weight, and readjusting to outdoor temperatures.

Once returned to good health, they are ready to be released to the wild.  However, the wild may not be ready for them. In an environmental disaster like the Deepwater Horizon spill, wildlife cannot return to their contaminated homes. Instead birds have to be released into an area where they do not run the chance of being re-oiled. The majority of the birds are released off the east coast of Florida.

I asked Heidi Stout from the Tri-State Bird Rescue  & Research Organization, on ways that everyday citizens can get involved with the clean up of oiled wildlife. At this time, the only people who can physically help the oiled wildlife is trained paraprofessionals (licensed veterinarians, license wildlife handlers etc) since dealing with stressed birds could be harmful.

However, she urged for concerned citizens who are willing to volunteer via answering phones and inputting data information to contact the U.S. Fish & Wildlife to offer assistance. It was also suggested that the donation of goods used to help clean the animals and monetary donations to further recovery efforts would be greatly appreciated.

Additionally, you can visit http://www.volunteerflorida.org/ to sign up for more volunteer training as well as visit a facebook group called, NWFL Panhandle Volunteer Beach Rescue Group at, http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=113452012028768&ref=ts for panhandle county specific volunteer efforts.

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.


I went to an oil spill Q &A last night with local officials and I was chosen to ask three questions. My questions are in bold and the answers are below.  Feel free to post a comment!

1. Has there been talks about putting oxygen down into the sea floor to help the animals and/or to break up the oil faster via the algae growth?

Answer: NO. It was apparent to me that they are not concerned with the oxygen level (poor, innocent, animals!) as they are more with the lack of nitrogen and phosphorus.

Another problem with the oxygen, is that they are not sure how they could get oxygen down at that depth and a lot of the oil would already be on the sea floor. To me, it’s an obvious answer~ set up a pipe that is suspended mid sea and anchored into the sea floor with oxygen being released from the top AND at the bottom. When I offered that solution, that is when I was told that they were not so much worried about the oxygen than the lack of nitrogen and phosphorus. 😦

2. Does the Corexit dispersant have a smell to it? If not, how are they testing the seafood – since it appears that they are only sniffing the fish and looking for oil? (Dispersant is toxic as well).

Answer: The dispersant normally does not have a scent. There have been no real ways to test for the toxicity of the seafood in relation to the dispersant. (This is VERY concerning to me).

3. With the dispersant being biodegradable, is toxic rain a concern?

Answer. (Long pause). No. (No real further clarification, from my standpoint).

***I have to be honest when I state that I believe that toxic rain IS a very real possibility and will be continuing to look into it further.

If YOU have any questions regarding the oil spill, clean up efforts, wild life rescue, hurricane influenced actions and/or anything else, please send me a comment here and Ill do my best to answer it or find an answer to it.


05.27.2010

The “top kill” effort, launched Wednesday afternoon by industry and government engineers, had pumped enough drilling fluid to block oil and gas spewing from the well, said Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen, who is heading the federal response to the spill said, said on Thursday morning.  “The pressure from the well was very low, he said, but persisting.”

Once engineers had reduced the well pressure to zero, they will begin pumping cement into the hole to plug  the leak of the blow out preventer.

As of this point; however,  neither government nor BP officials had declared the effort a success yet, pending the completion of the cementing and sealing of the well.

The first ship containing 50,000 barrels of the mud mixture reportedly ran out early Thursday, although a second boat was on the way. Coast Guard officials and BP engineers on the scene said they were hopeful the process could be labeled a full success once cement was pumped in to fully block the pipe within the next few hours.

Allen said one ship that was pumping fluid into the well had run out of the fluid, or “mud,” and that a second ship was on the way. He said he was encouraged by the progress.

“We’ll get this under control,” he said.

Meanwhile, United State Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt, chair the Flow Rate Technical Group, declared this morning that the flow rate was that of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day (approx 18 million to 28 million gallons of oil)- a far jump from the latest revised estimate of 5,000 barrels per day.

That would make the 36-day leak by far the worst in U.S. history, surpassing the Exxon Valdez disaster, which spilled 11 million gallons into Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1989.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal took another boat tour of the oil spill area Wednesday and later repeated his call to get federal permission to dredge sand and create barrier islands to protect inland estuaries.

Louisiana officials say they can’t wait any longer, as more oil seeps into delicate marshlands in Pass a l’Outre.  “We don’t need to see a repeat of some of the situation we’ve seen recently,” Jindal said at Cypress Cove after surveying the damage for about four hours.

He said if BP and the Coast Guard don’t come up with a solution to removing marsh oil by Saturday, officials will move forward with their own action plan. “Our way of life in coastal Louisiana depends on it,” Jindal said.

Plaquemines Parish President Bobby Nungesser said that if nothing is done by Saturday at 8 a.m., officials will bring out a suction machine to gather excess oil. He said the spill will have the impact of the past four hurricanes in the area. “Once again we were dealt an untruth,” Nungesser said. “How much more are we going to put up with?”

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.


NOAA stated on 05.17.10~ that the oil plumes subsea were “grossly exaggerated; some are even false.”  NOAA is currently testing the water for hydrocarbons which would be related to the oil droplets subsea.  They have yet to give an estimated time of completion for the water testing. When can we expect to have that completed?

ALSO; I would like NOAA to confirm in what manner are testing the water samples for not only hydrocarbons but residue from the dispersant; as my fear is that Corexit 9500 & 9527A are causing the oil droplets to become heavy and sink; which is why they may be seeing less oil on the surface. However, satellite imagery can only detect so deep into the water.

ADDITIONALLY; In what ways are they tracking the loop current~ that is; the loop current does not move in purely one direction based off of one factor.  Further, how they are tracking the light oil sheen that has entered the loop current as of today on the surface AND subsea?

FURTHER; In what manner are they tracking the loop current and is there is any way that the connection between the loop current and the gulf stream can be separated.

FINALLY; In what manner are you preparing for hurricane season that starts June 1st? How are you planning on forecasting the oil spread in relation to any passing through hurricanes AND how many hurricanes (% of bad ones can we expect for the 2010 hurricane season?


KEY WEST, Fla. – The Coast Guard Marine Safety Laboratory in New London, Conn. analyzed a sampling of tar balls discovered on Florida Keys shoreline Tuesday and determined that none of the collected samples are from the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill.

A sampling of tar balls discovered on beaches at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, Fla., Smathers Beach in Key West, Big Pine Key, Fla., and Loggerhead Key in the Dry Tortugas National Park, Fla. were flown by a Coast Guard HU-25 Falcon jet based in Miami, Fla., to New London, Conn. Tuesday for testing and analysis.

The results of those tests conclusively show that the tar balls collected from Florida Keys beaches do not match the type of oil from the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The source of the tar balls remains unknown at this time.

Capt. Pat DeQuattro, commanding officer of Sector Key West, authorized the use of the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund Tuesday to commence cleanups of any oil pollution on Florida Keys shoreline and established a Unified Command comprised of members from the Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of the Interior, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Monroe County to manage the Florida Keys Tar Ball Incident response.

“The conclusion that these tar balls are not from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident in no way diminishes the need to continue to aggressively identify and clean up tar ball-contaminated areas in the Florida Keys,” DeQuattro said.  “We will continue to operate as a Unified Command and utilize funding through the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund until we have successfully identified any additional tar balls on the shoreline and completed cleanup efforts.”

Coast Guard pollution investigators from Sector Key West responded to a report of twenty tar balls found on the beach at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park in Key West Monday.  Coast Guard Sector Key West received notification from the Florida Park Service around 5:15 p.m. Monday of twenty tar balls ranging in size from approximately three to eight inches in diameter.  Park rangers conducted a shoreline survey of Fort Zachary Taylor and the adjacent Navy beach at Truman Annex and recovered the tar balls at a rate of nearly three tar balls an hour throughout the day, with the heaviest concentration found at high tide, around 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Coast Guard Sector Key West received notification from the National Response Center at approximately 8 a.m. of tar balls on the beach in Big Pine Key, followed by a 9 a.m. report of tar balls on Loggerhead Key in the Dry Tortugas National Park.  The report of tar balls on Smathers Beach came via telephone to watchstanders at Sector Key West at approximately 8:20 a.m.

The public is asked to report the sighting of any tar balls to the U.S. Coast Guard at 1 (800) 424-8802.  Any oiled shorelines can be reported to 1 (866) 448-5816.
The public is reminded that tar balls are a hazardous material, which while not dangerous to most people can cause an allergic reaction and should only be retrieved by trained personnel.  All beaches on the Florida Keys remain open.

Source: http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com


05.04.2010

Another teleconference was held, in which I participated in, with the Department of  the Interior, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),  U.S. Coastguard, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), British Petroleum (BP) and TransOcean.

Satellite imagery shows that the former 3,400 sq. miles oil slick has been reduced to  2000 sq mile. While at first this may seem reassuring, it is important to realize that the oil is pooling; that is, the oil remains under the water.

It has been claimed that the blowout rig did not have any fire boom on hand  which would have enabled a controlled burn of the oil slick. To compensate for the lack of supplies, the government fire boom from an Illinois-based manufacturer.

Ever since the 1989 Exxon Valdez  oil spill, the “In-Situ Burn” plan produced by federal agencies in 1994 calls for responding to a major oil spill in the Gulf with the immediate use of fire booms. Those fire booms were not available.

A single fire boom being towed by two boats can burn up to 1,800 barrels of oil an hour.  That translates to 75,000 gallons an hour, raising the possibility that the spill could have been contained at the accident scene 100 miles from shore.  Further, the lack of a response for 8 days allowed the oil to spread further. Even more so, when the storm front rolled through a few days ago and all controlled burning was halted.

However, these response efforts have not stopped the oil slick from presenting  a threat to our coastline.

12 shrimp and 10 response boats have been following the oil sheen as it nears the coastline of Chandler, Louisiana. As of this point, no oil has made contact with the shoreline and it is said that the weather will keep the oil at bay for 3 days.

The stalled recovery efforts resumed activity this afternoon. Oil skimming, overhead dispersant, subsurface dispersant (one of the same with the only difference being the altitude/depth in which it is applied) and controlled surface burning have received the all-clear to assume the offensive position to battle the spreading of the oil slick. Further, 100 barrels of oil were burned in the initial response effort.  Due to the calm weather, officials are confident that oil can be ignited at a rate of 500-1000 barrels a day.

Additionally, the second blowout valve will be operational by the end of the day. However, this will not stop the oil flow altogether- instead, it will only stop one of the leaks, leaving the other 2 leaks exposed until further recovery efforts.

The next line of response to stop the flow of oil, a first time recovery tactic, a 70 ton concentrate and metal structure coffer-like dome which will extend t0 5,000 under water. This response has been effective in shallow waters; however, the response is unknown when submerged in greater depths.

The first containment chamber has been fabricated and is set to leave the dock by 12p CDT.  The containment chamber is expected to be operational within 6 days. No mention was made to the fabrication of the second containment chamber.

Alabama is capitalizing on the extra days of calm weather to install Hesco containers around West End Public Beach, the far west side of Dauphin Island.

The containers, metal cages lined a green absorbent, will be filled with C.I. Agent, a biochemical substance designed to solidify any oil that comes into contact with it. The solidified oil is then easier to remove and the green absorbent can be replaced to capture additional oil.

Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier said the material is actually a wall that will protect the north shoreline.

“It presents a physical barrier as you can see. There’s some elevation to it so it can withstand a little bit of wave action. But essentially it will absorb an oil sheer that comes in there,” Collier said.

Additionally, private contractors in Alabama have been building a massive sand berm along the Gulf-facing shore on the western half of the island.   The berm will stretch for miles along the narrow island to prevent oil from flowing over the top of the island.

Meanwhile,  Gulf Cost residents are lining up in droves to volunteer and to help pre clean our beaches.  There was a massive clean up effort of approximately 1,000 volunteers rushing to clean up the shorelines. Similar efforts remain in effect; however, it was stressed to avoid picking up above the high tide line.

The Audubon Society warned that there many eggs right above the high tide line that blend in with the sand and could be accidentally crushed.  Additionally, it was asked to not remove any natural debris as that could provide a housing shelter for animals.

The oil sheen is not expected to make landfall for another 3 days. Use this time wisely to prepare a defense and a proactive stance against the looming oil slick.

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.