Flow rate update, with information from the Incident Command:
The National Incident Command’s Flow Rate Technical Group (FRTG) has developed an independent estimate for the rate at which oil is flowing from BP’s leaking well. Using three different methodologies, the FRTG has determined that the flow rate is likely to be between 12,000 and 19,000 barrels of oil per day. This rate, which revises BP’s report of 5,000 barrels per day, makes the Deepwater Horizon Spill the worst oil spill in US history.
Top Kill update, with information from the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
BP has initiated a “top kill” procedure to cap the well. They began the top kill on Wednesday at 1 PM by pumping heavy drilling mud into the blowout preventer, which sits on top of the well. Pumping was suspended between 11 pm on Wednesday and 6 pm on Thursday. BP has observed large amounts of mud escaping out of the riser pipe, even when pumping was suspended. These observations indicate that pressure from the well is pushing the mud out. Now BP will supplement the mud with a “junk shot,” the high-velocity shooting of debris, such as tennis balls and pieces of rubber tire, into the well. The junk shot is meant to help the mud enter the wellbore instead of flowing out of the riser. If the effort succeeds, BP will seal the well with cement. If it is not successful, BP will immediately try to contain the flow using a cap and suction tube, while it readies another attempt at stopping the flow. The ultimate success of the top kill procedure will not be known for another 24 to 48 hours (according to reports by Reuters). Read more at http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/0/top_kill_strategy_to_be_adjust.html
Local oil update, with information from Escambia County:
Escambia County officials are in the process of confirming potential oil findings on Escambia County beaches and verifying the number of specimens that have been sent for analysis. There are currently no oil-contaminated findings in Escambia County that have been determined to be a result of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. If you see anything which resembles oil please do not take it upon yourself to remove it. Do not remove any oil findings, nor touch anything that appears to be oil-contaminated or potentially related to the oil spill. It is extremely important to call 866-448-5816 to report the exact locations of any findings so that trained teams can investigate and make accurate records.
Also, Some of you have certainly heard that the boom decontamination area has been set up on Bayou Chico. I toured the site Wednesday and must say that I felt much better afterward. The contractors working there were quite knowledgeable and were willing and able to answer many questions. They have extensive experience in oil decontamination and hazardous spills and I feel as long as everything goes as planned there will be minimal impact to our Bayou (increased traffic will certainly be a challenge).
Oil trajectory update, with information from Roffer’s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service:
The surface flow of water in the Gulf is now directed from the surface oil eastward toward the Florida Panhandle. This movement increases concern that the oil could impact Florida from the Panhandle to Naples. There is also a Loop Eddy that may or may not be separate from the Loop Current. However, if the eastern side of the eddy collides with the Loop Current, it will reform with it. IF this occurs, there is a likelihood that the oil in the eddy west of Tampa will flow directly to the Florida Keys and NOT be pulled around the eddy away from the Florida Keys. See a detailed illustration of the shifting oil trajectory at http://www.roffs.com/DeepwaterHorizon/ROFFSOil27May10.pdf
Dispersants update, with information from from New York Times:
Despite the EPA’s order to utilize a less toxic dispersant, BP continues to use Corexit, citing limited availability of other dispersants and disputing the EPA’s toxicity assessment. On Wednesday afternoon, seven crew members aboard fishing vessels who had been working to clean up Breton Sound, southeast of New Orleans, blamed the chemicals for health complaints including nausea, shortness of breath and high blood pressure. In response, the Coast Guard called 125 boats in the area back to shore as they investigated before sending them out again on Thursday. Approximately 850,000 gallons of chemical dispersants have been deployed (according to Incident Command); however, BP recently reduced the daily volume that they are using. There is still little knowledge about their long-term effects of dispersant on ecosystems, and they have never been applied in the quantity used in the Gulf of Mexico. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/28/science/earth/28workers.html
I am still working on getting a meeting for NW FL Environmental NGO’s from Incident Command Mobile. Unfortunately the Coast Guard Lieutenant I was working with just got transferred to New Orleans.
What can you do?
We are looking for a group of dedicated folks who would like to help with long term monitoring of our precious coastlines. Volunteers must commit to visiting the same site every week (may increase to once a month later). If this is something you are interested in please email our volunteer from San Francisco Baykeeper, Rosalind Becker, at firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know where (in general) you would be interested in monitoring and whether you have your own camera and GPS unit.
Sign Senator Nelson’s petition to urge Florida lawmakers to PERMANENTLY ban offshore drilling along the Florida coastline with a constitutional amendment! http://protectourshores.com/?utm_source=sp3027217&utm_medium=e&sc=sp3027217
Use the Citizen’s Toolkit developed by Clean Water Network of Florida to send a verified complaint (30 day notice letter) to the Florida Department of the Environment. The complaint does not mean that you are suing DEP, but it will definitely send a strong message! http://www.cleanwaternetwork-fl.org/issues_gulfmexico.php
Chasidy Fisher Hobbs
Emerald Coastkeeper, Inc.
We need members to help in our fight for clean water. Please Join NOW: www.emeraldcoastkeeper.org/donate