CLEANING UP OIL AND HAZARDOUS CHEMICAL SPILLS
During the beginning weeks of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, an LAEO Science and Tech Advisory team reviewed and identified existing spill clean up technologies to determine what environmental solutions were available for remediating this unprecedented disaster. How would it be possible to restore the Gulf of Mexico, save the lives of people and reverse the nearly irrecoverable damage to this priceless marine ecosystem? Our findings were astounding and we published a research paper covering this analysis of U.S. oil spill response systems in detail to not only educate oil spill response professionals and government agency employees but to also ensure the broader public would be aware of the existence of workable tools for cleaning up their own contaminated waters and lands. We have been dedicated to implementing more effective hazardous chemical spill cleanup technologies ever since and are making tremendous inroads around the world.
Access our publication, A Call for a Twenty-First Century Solution in Oil Spill Response and other research material on this subject can be found in our technical library.
Enzymatic Bioremediation-What is it?
LAEO’s oil spill solutions research program focuses on a unique category of oil spill remediation science called Enzymatic Bioremediation. This is a pragmatically formulated class of remediation agent requiring special know-how on its application to oil and fuel spills. When applied to a (hydrocarbon based) hazardous chemical spill, a natural remediation process is activated immediately in ocean, fresh water or land based environments. This process works in alignment with natural laws with no negative environmental tradeoffs. The remedy is capable of completely removing oil and gas related chemicals in any type of environment.
Civilization’s incessant flow of oil and gas pollutants into our oceans, shorelines, fresh water and every ecosystem in the world now has a solution!
We are working with scientists, industry, government officials, communities, and the broad public to implement this safe, more effective clean up method and that’s Cooperative Ecology in action!
Special Project Summaries: Moving Forward with Change Oil Spill Response Projects
REFUGIO / SANTA BARBARA OIL SPILL – 2015:
There have been quite a few major oil and hazardous chemical spills impacting inland and ocean waterways since Deepwater Horizon. Of major note is the Refugio State Beach pipeline spill of more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil in Santa Barbara, California. In a tragic and unnecessary repeat of unworkable methods used to address spills, ineffective “cleanup” methods used on Refugio resulted in a large part of this toxic spill spreading several hundred miles down the Pacific Coast hitting beaches throughout Southern California. During this incident, LAEO compiled and distributed a spill solutions documentation package to educate U.S. and California legislators, state, county and city officials, industry and federal agencies involved in the cleanup.
LAEO USA additionally submitted formal testimony to congressional investigators regarding the fact that the methods used and overseen by government officials to address this spill only served to exacerbate the disaster, and cost more than $95 million in direct cleanup costs, and untold additional millions in environmental damages yet to be fully calculated. By our cost analysis, the cost of cleaning up of this spill if Enzymatic Bioremediation were used would have been reduced by at least $80 million with far less damage!
LAEO USA alerted key government officials and, through the media, exposed numerous issues related to the spill, letting the public know that far better options for effective clean up solutions were available. Through our educational materials and testimonies, LAEO USA was able to raise public and industry awareness of this on a much broader scale. The impact of these materials can be seen in our forward progress in other countries towards the full implementation of effective cleanup solutions, and the banning of antiquated and inadequate prior methods. While there is still much work to be done to overcome the arbitrary bureaucratic barriers and policies that are preventing the oil spill cleanup industry in the U.S. from advancing, we are making progress, and are confident that, with persistence, we will be able to help raise U.S. standards in this field to levels that have already been adopted in many other countries.
2016 Oil Spill Response Systems–A New Perspective
The currently expressed goal for oil spill response plans and their action is to “prevent the release of oil into navigable waters and adjoining shorelines, and to contain discharges of oil.”
But consider this: What if the goals were different, what if the objective/standard was: “rapid toxicity elimination, emulsification and solubilization [contained on the surface, keeping oil off shorelines, beaches and out of the water column or sediments] followed by rapid and complete removal/biodegradation of oil pollutants from the environment.”
Given that this objective is now achievable, will there be decision-making changes re spill response and planning? The good news is, first-response approaches and options have expanded.
SUPPORTING TALENTED YOUNG SCIENTISTS:
In our work to raise awareness in the public and the oil industry of existing, effective, and non-toxic spill cleanup technologies, we were involved with and issued media releases about the fascinating story of a 13-year-old science student, Alana Tessman. Concerned about the environmental and wildlife devastation she had personally observed in 2010 during BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Alana did her own research, through cutting-edge experiments, independently proving that the very same cleanup technology we advocate for is not only a safer and more effective means for cleaning up oil spills, but is also a better solution than current methods for cleaning oiled birds. Consulting with several Science and Technology Committee advisors, as well as working with one of the top environmental laboratories in the U.S., she designed protocols that would have saved many birds and marine life in distress during the Refugio/Santa Barbara spill. For her stellar work, she went on to win First Place in the Kern County Science Fair, and then placed third in the State of California’s Science Fair. See article at: http://www.female-exec.com/global_environment-LAEO-AlanaJuly2015.html
WORKING TO RAISE INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS:
In June of last year, a partnership was formed with a team of Canadian environmental engineers and scientists to advance oil pollution cleanup standards in Canada. LAEO U.S. Senior SVP Operations, Diane Wagenbrenner, participated in three days of collaborative meetings held to raise understanding re advanced bioremediation techniques for oil spill and hazardous waste removal, including a conference with several senior scientists with the National Research Council Laboratory in Montreal.
In August the Environmental Ministry of Canada announced what we believe to be a de-facto endorsement of toxic chemical dispersant use in their country’s oil spill response plans. Several major oil companies are expanding their offshore deep-water drilling production and submitted the antiquated oil spill response plans already scientifically proven ineffective on earlier spills. LAEO U.S. submitted a better plan to the Ministry, which, if implemented, would not only put into responders’ hands the ability to rapidly clean up future oil spills, but would increase profits for oil industry shareholders through the prevention of both human health risks and natural resource destruction, and the subsequent fines and lawsuits.
See our plan here: https://theearthorganization.org/laeo-sends-oil-spill-response-caution-environment-canada/ to protect the Canadian coastline.