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Is it better on the Beaches than in the Gulf?

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posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 08:50 PM
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A lot of folks seem understandably disturbed by the sight of crude washing up on shore. But, all things considered, isnt the shoreline the best place for the crude? I mean, if it's in the water, it is starving the Gulf of oxygen, which leads to Dead Zones. Obviously, the corexitt adds greatly to this problem.

Where does the 'cleaned-up' crude go, anyway? Is it processed by BP, or is it tossed in a landfill? Because, if it really is just put in a plastic bag and stuck in the landfill, it would seem that it might actually be BETTER for it to be exposed to sunlight, open air, and active microbes, all of which contribute to the break down of the crude.




Microbial degradation. The fate of most petroleum substances in the marine environment is ultimately defined by their transformation and degradation due to microbial activity. About a hundred known species of bacteria and fungi are able to use oil components to sustain their growth and metabolism. In pristine areas, their proportions usually do not exceed 0.1-1.0% of the total abundance of heterotrophic bacterial communities. In areas polluted by oil, however, this portion increases to 1-10% [Atlas, 1993].

...

Oil aggregates can exist from a month to a year in the enclosed seas and up to several years in the open ocean [Benzhitski, 1980]. They complete their cycle by slowly degrading in the water column, on the shore (if they are washed there by currents), or on the sea bottom (if they lose their floating ability).


www.offshore-environment.com...

In addition, there seems to be some evidence that shows that the efforts to 'clean' the beaches after the Valdez incident were actually counter-productive, because it removed the healthy microbes that would naturally eat the oil.




But bioremediation seemed to help. Local bacteria were found to be starving for nutrients, and once fertilizers were added to a test area they got busy. Within a couple weeks a “white window” of clean rocks appeared among the gunk-covered ones. Eventually more than 70 miles of beach were treated this way. Later researchers questioned how much oil the process actually got rid of, though. It’s been calculated that all told, bioremediation, skimming, spraying, and scrubbing were responsible for removing less than a sixth of the spilled oil. Whom- or whatever deserves the credit, most of the Exxon Valdez spillage did eventually disappear. Not all of it, though—biodegradation has its limits. Oxygen is key in much bacterial action, and once oil gets buried under sediment things really slow down. Conclusion? Let’s break this down into more digestible bits. Do oil spills mostly go away on their own? Yes. Does that mean we’re better off leaving them alone? Of course not. Nobody doubts we need to plug leaks and contain spillage, and I’m persuaded bioremediation helps at least sometimes.


www.washingtoncitypaper.com...

Anyhoo, my question i something like this: The oil is already out there. The leak still isnt stopped, what is the best way to deal with the situation?

Yes, the dispersants are bad. But what is the trade-off between that and letting it all coagulate on the sea surface? Yes, the crude is ugly on the pretty beaches, but is it better there than floating on the sea surface. I understand that 'skimmers' are removing some oil from the surface, but even with 10 times the amount out there now, the clean up would still take years.

So whats the most effective, realistic way to deal with this terrible situation?

Those are my questions. Anyone got any answers?




posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 09:11 PM
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Ah, I know we've all been devoting some time thinking about this dilemma, and it's nice to see a thread dedicated to it.


My thoughts, from what I am able to piece together, are that it is indeed, better to bring it! Let's get it on the beaches so we can see it, and remove it.

Gross and dirty, yes. But when you have a problem, face it. I'd much rather be able to cope with it in this manner, than leave it swirling in the ocean to kill our marine life, with no way to get to it.

And the skimmers would also have a better visual on their targets.
As god-awful as it will be, Bring It On.

We can't clean up what we can't see.



posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 09:25 PM
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Originally posted by ladyinwaiting
Ah, I know we've all been devoting some time thinking about this dilemma, and it's nice to see a thread dedicated to it.


My thoughts, from what I am able to piece together, are that it is indeed, better to bring it! Let's get it on the beaches so we can see it, and remove it.


But 'remove it' to where? Based on most evidence i can find about oil spills on beaches, the crude appears to 'decompose' quite effectively when it is exposed to the elements (that is, the top few inches of the shore). So i'm not sure 'removing it' will help much. Which is my main point.


Gross and dirty, yes. But when you have a problem, face it. I'd much rather be able to cope with it in this manner, than leave it swirling in the ocean to kill our marine life, with no way to get to it.

And the skimmers would also have a better visual on their targets.
As god-awful as it will be, Bring It On.

We can't clean up what we can't see.


I'm still not convinced of that either. The corexitt appears to be a gamble. It's toxic as all get out, but may actually SPEED UP the breaking down of the crude. One of the problems with the Ixtoc spill was that the crude that floated to the sea surface coagulated, which made it more difficult to break down.

And as easy as it is to say BP is only using the dispersants to hide the oil, time may prove that is was actually an effective tactic for breaking down the oil. And, sigh, NO i am not saying this is 'no big deal'.

In addition, even with the 'skimmers', the amount of oil they are able to skim is incredibly minimal. So i have little faith that is an approach that will do much in the short run.

So, ultimately, what is the best way to get the oil to break down on its own? It seems like the top few inches of beach might be FAR better than open sea. All things Considered.

[edit on 6-7-2010 by justadood]



posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 09:34 PM
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reply to post by justadood
 


Because everything else is simply a gamble, and I'm tired of gambling and losing in this disaster. No more "what-if's", "maybe", or "it shoulds".

I want good old fashioned tried and true. Put it out there where we can see it, and get the crap up.

Simple.



posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 10:09 PM
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I would think the best place for it is the beaches, hands down. The problem is that there are beaches and then there are marshes. There is no *worse* place for the oil than in the marshes.

There is no way to allow it to hit the beaches and still keep it from the marshes.



posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 08:08 AM
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Originally posted by ladyinwaiting
reply to post by justadood
 


Because everything else is simply a gamble, and I'm tired of gambling and losing in this disaster. No more "what-if's", "maybe", or "it shoulds".

I want good old fashioned tried and true. Put it out there where we can see it, and get the crap up.

Simple.


I'm not entirely convinced that is somehow 'better'. Beyond the hype of the skimmers, the reality is it will take them years, if not decades to skim up the oil off the surface of the water.

Like I said, perhaps the only reason BP is using the dispersants is to hide the oil, but i suspect it is also because it will allow the oil to break down faster.

When all the crude from the Ixtoc well sat on top of the water, it ended up coagulating and then NOT breaking down at all. So just because the oil is on top of the water doesnt mean it can be recovered any easier.

I tend to think all this 'clean-up' is just for show, anyway. The most effective 'cleanup' wont come from skimmers or bulldozers or workers with shovels. It will be the aerobic breakdown by microbes/bacteria, etc...



posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 07:14 PM
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www.google.com...




Walk to a seemingly pristine patch of sand, plop down in a chair and start digging with your bare feet. Chances are you'll walk away with gooey tar between your toes. So far, cleanup workers hired by BP have skimmed only the surface, using shovels or sifting machines to remove oil.

The company is planning a deeper cleaning program that could include washing or incinerating sand once the leak is stopped.

But some experts debate whether it's best to just leave it alone and let nature run its course.




Originally posted by Geeky_Bubbe
I would think the best place for it is the beaches, hands down. The problem is that there are beaches and then there are marshes. There is no *worse* place for the oil than in the marshes.

There is no way to allow it to hit the beaches and still keep it from the marshes.


Yep.


Cleaning up oil is tough at the beginning and gets harder every day. The first job is to contain a spill, a nearly impossible task in the real world.

On the water, booms which absorb and contain spills on relatively calm seas can be used to herd it into big pools that can be sucked up or burned. Burning needs perfect conditions, and one engineer compared a siphon to a toothpick in the Gulf. Chemical dispersants which separate crude into fine droplets can be sprayed from ships and planes. Rusty-colored oil 'mousse' can be seen in the Gulf of Mexico where dispersants mixed into the water by waves are breaking down the oil.

Above all, the oil needs to be kept off shore, which over time is the most difficult thing to do. When oil hits land it's often for a short visit -- dropping off a sheen and then moving with the tides up or down the shoreline. Eventually though, the oil ages, becoming a tar -- like a blob that gloms onto a surface and won't let go.

That's fine on a hard-packed sandy beach, which is the best place for an oil spill, since a careful lift of a thin layer of sand can get rid of most of the problem. But in marshes, new and old oil can spread thin and deep with a ferocity that makes any cleanup counterproductive -- boots kill more than the oil. Alaska's rocky coast is somewhere in between the two extremes, and just where the risks lay, and what the risks involved, is still debated today.


And I know everyone is freaking out about Corexxit, but i think the argument can be made that it is helping more than hurting.




Al Maki, Exxon's chief scientist at the time, flew in early and knew what to do: break up the oil with chemical dispersants. The chemicals, which are being used widely in the current Gulf spill crisis, break oil into fine droplets so that it can be absorbed into the water and degrade naturally. Warm water and wave action speed the mixing and energy. "If we had a chance to use dispersants earlier in the game, it would have reduced the landing impact substantially," said Maki. Exxon, which was in charge of the cleanup, wasn't allowed to use dispersants for three critical, calm days, after the early Friday crash, he said. "The storm that came through on Sunday night moved the oil way out beyond our reaches and the use of dispersants was canceled," he said.


www.reuters.com...



posted on Jul, 9 2010 @ 05:03 PM
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Depending on how the waste is handled, it can be separated / extracted from water, (which would leave it in a usable state for processing. gotta get that money, right?). Cleaning it up on land isn't easy. It involves light to heavy earth moving equipment depending on saturation and test results of permeation. The combined waste and soil is difficult and expensive to process so for the most part a majority of it is decanted and will probably be disposed of.

Now, that's looking at it "prospectively". IF they actually gave a damn they would hope and pray every bit of it was on the land and accessible, because hard work or not, it's better in the long run in every way possible for the people that live there, and anyone that relies on the Gulf Coast for their livelihood. The more accessible it is the better the chances of removing it, the less long term impact to the effected area, the people that live there, and some seriously pissed off (and rightly so) wildlife.

Good post.




posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 09:46 PM
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well, it looks like it would indeed have been better on the beaches than in the ocean.

Watch this:The Oil spill's toxic trade off.



www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 02:37 PM
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What if the oil was 'under' the beaches and not on? Just a question. I know very little about the best way to dispose of such a volume so I offer no opinion.
Two current articles, one in floridaoilspill.com, and the other in floridaoilspilllaw.com, show oil under the surface in substantial quantities on the Florida panhandle and Orange Beach, Alabama. The Alabama mayor does not seem too happy to have it 'under' his beach.
If nature has a way of dealing with crude, Corexit might well have mixed up the equation.



posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 09:39 PM
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Originally posted by SimplyGord
What if the oil was 'under' the beaches and not on? Just a question. I know very little about the best way to dispose of such a volume so I offer no opinion.
Two current articles, one in floridaoilspill.com, and the other in floridaoilspilllaw.com, show oil under the surface in substantial quantities on the Florida panhandle and Orange Beach, Alabama. The Alabama mayor does not seem too happy to have it 'under' his beach.
If nature has a way of dealing with crude, Corexit might well have mixed up the equation.


Well, 'under' the beach would still probably be better than in the Gulf, seems to be the consensus. The damage on the coast line, even in the marshes, appears to be far less intensive than dispersing it into the sea to be consumed by critters, cover the coral reefs, and whatnot.

watch the informative video linked in the post above yours.



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 10:53 PM
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I think it is interesting that some seem so concerned that there is some oil on a beach, when most experts continue to tell us that the beach may very well be the best place for it.

I guess many would prefer it be out of sight, out of mind, instead of actually properly dealt with (which I suspect is why the Obama Admin and BP have chosen to disperse the vast majority of it--because they know people freak out more about something they can see, even if it is the less-harmful option)



posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 06:06 AM
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Hi Dood......As much as it irks me to say it, I guess the beach would be best.At least you can see it and try to clean it up, as you said. Oh....as for disposal.......what they did was send the shoveled sand to a processing area, where they would separate the sand from the oil [saving the oil]....then the plastic bags of sand go to a hazardous waste dump and piled up there.



posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 11:51 PM
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Originally posted by StealthyKat
....as for disposal.......what they did was send the shoveled sand to a processing area, where they would separate the sand from the oil [saving the oil]....then the plastic bags of sand go to a hazardous waste dump and piled up there.


Where did you hear this? I have heard the same, but I don't know where the info came from.



posted on Aug, 23 2010 @ 05:32 AM
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reply to post by justadood
 




I read it in an article....I'll see if I can find it, and post a link for you.



posted on Aug, 23 2010 @ 05:43 AM
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reply to post by justadood
 


Here's the link Dood!tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com...




posted on Aug, 23 2010 @ 08:46 AM
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reply to post by StealthyKat
 


Ah, yes, I recall that mother Jones article as well. Thanks kat.

"It's BP's Oil"



motherjones.com...



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