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How do you clean up an oil spill?

2010-06-01 | 🔗

The modern world runs on fossil fuel, and offshore oil drilling powers a large part of the global economy. But what do we do when disaster strikes? Join Josh and Chuck as they take a look at the techniques used to clean up oil spills in this podcast.

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Welcome to stop. You should know how stuff works. Tat, unwelcome tv podcast, on Josh Clerk, Charles did you check right, is seated across for me, sorting through papers taking a last second look at the information. Is sponge like brain is absorbing like an n absorbent might soak up oil floating on top of the Mexico. Did you play that Anna and I'm getting to get it like the robber uric of pod casting an old approve? I now think its third or fourth time we said Robert European issue: has it been recorded before What Robert Asian a robber, your recorded in release, my friend, this podcast is going to bump people out, especially if you have
any hardness for the environment: pelicans sand, shrimp, pleasure in burs yeah this that we'll call economy women we ve pressure than this weeks ago, but we took our time getting around to accuse Joshua being all Japanese, so oil spills its high time. We tackle this time,
hide or oil spill clean up rather yeah. I actually wrote an article about it back in two thousand and six. There is a spill in San Francisco Bay and on our bosses. Like hey, go right, something on this right now I was like a case. I wrote it and dumb. I was happy to see that pretty much nothing's changed since then. In four years the technology has an advanced were actually using some really primitive techniques. No building but checklist slit first start by talking about how the Gulf oil spill started. In the first place right, we held the deepwater HORIZON oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. I just
they called this a spill. I guess colonists spilling yeah, I think, any time it's introduce oil and one or two year water to spill that generally the gas to be water. Think around oil gets out of whatever containment system is supposed to be holding it. It's a spill smiled Plymouth Valiant that I had LOS Angeles oil spill oil spill out. My driver to how that I get charged for that by my printer or by my lady, really like oil spots as like ten bucks, apiece its wear and tear that's what I said: innocent Coolidge do when you google Earth my house, you could see my car, my driveway, my Ella House, an oil spill. Can you really that's crazy? Anyway? You can also google Earth the oil spill in the Gulf right now. As far as I know yet others pictures that are coming out of this awful. Yet we
you know we have a facebook page if he should know page and reposted. An tweeted on twitter account to a linked to this p S blog that had a life yede. Yo of the oil under the glass. Mexico must have a mile downright the most depressing thing. I've ever seen its just shooting up plumes of oil and there's a really big discussion anyway, deepwater horizon exploded than he was having a well to come back and jewels later. Cuz I to go start another drill or another are well by
art and they were running behind from what I understand. Sir New emerged that there may a year they have been something of a rush job granting capping this well, some gas built up in the in the well. It exploded in this pipe that went from the rig too, that well kept right, killed. Eleven people and sunk, the the rig burst the pipe in at least three places, and now we have these plumes that her plumes of oil that are being introduced into the Gulf of Mexico at first they thought it was worth a thousand barrels a day right. Well, a thousand miles a day in a be peace. Numbers are quite lining up with they. It yeah numbers from the experts know in the government said: well we're going to figure this our cells, but we're going to use a an equation that is specifically recommended to not be used,
for calculating oil released underwater now recommended by oil. Companies are not recommended by expert I'll get, so they came up with five thousand barrels a day right. Some experts, like some people who know I have said it's probably about forty five times that yeah. So what we're talking about is as much as twenty five thousand barrels in their forty, two gallons in a barrel, twenty five thousand barrels a day. If that's the case than as of this podcast recording the Gulf oil spill, the Bp Gulf oil spill it going on right now has released the amount the Exxon Valdez dropped eight times over yeah. Well, they just actually and seen in just release like
two hours ago they their officially calling it the worst oil spill. In? U S, history! In: U S history, but it's not the worst ever is checkers. Now I don't know he had different info, but nineteen anyone, Persian Gulf WAR, two hundred and forty million gallons off the coast of Saudi Arabia out. You got and right now we ve got about eighty eight million. If its twenty five thousand barrels a day we were at about. Eighty eight million two hundred and forty million barrels forty million GAO. Yes, that's enormous, unethical, ever tougher, Yandah Valdez whenever the eleven million gallons yeah and the second worst spill also took place in the Gulf of Mexico, but it was off the custom Mexico right right now. One was, I think, like a hundred and forty million.
Something like that. I think so, a hundred and forty million gallons it was the issue. Talk one talk. I know action in mexican dialect Aztec. Maybe it's worth talking like that. Like all hocker, you right, yeah, yeah, there's an accident. So it's the talk on somebody. Let us know what the desert place from you Nineteen, seventeen February nineteen eighty is kept going and there was a hundred forty million gallons right. I get three more stats. What they were doing. Stats and people are taken shots. Every one hundred every year, one hundred million. U S gallons, of oil spill every year. Yeah is what they say. There's their staff member one did
United States, uses seven hundred and ten million gallons of oil per day and in fact, every twenty two minutes Josh the? U S uses up what was spilled in the Exxon Valdez spill, every twenty two minutes. I knows my word weird is disturbing, but that also accounts for why oil spills are so massive. It's actually kind of wondrous there More oil doesn't spill, frank, open leave the! U S. Coastguard reported that after the Exxon Valdez Accident there is a lot of like tightening restriction, is just such a very public accident right and it happened in the? U S so it mattered. You know arms all of a sudden there's always these restrictions on tanker design. You need to have double hulls. Right and then other regulations that made restrictions tighter and, I think spillage dropped by, like fifty eight percent between eighteen, eighty, nine,
in two thousand for yeah. You know Mary, Frederick of cool stuff on the planet. Have you ever seen his facebook stuff? Now he society eating your facebook friend impersonally, he's like the liberal sailor of all ok four times a day. He sends out- I bet you didn't know this light. I rate that I as a later, he came by the other day and told me about a m the basically ever country in the world that does offshore drilling, has this process in place that when there is a situation like just happen and implosion happens, is triggered immediately to implode and seal everything up at the source, and he said the: U S is the only country that ha recently and like several years ago said? Ah, we don't need this
as a cost? A lot of money, yeah we're the only country. That's great Britain go what were the only country with her minerals management service which apparently had her has had a pretty cosy relationship with energy companies right yeah. I think about that low chuck. This oil spill in the Gulf, coupled with the mine explosion in West Virginia, like those two accidents coming that close together kink, actually completely change energy policy within it probably will for the better, obviously pretty interesting. I so Chuck. Let's say that you had just gotten your hair cut. I did in fact I let's say he said you know what I want my hair to go to matter of trust, because it's going to be used to clean up this oil spill right did member
got a bunch of emails about dislike. You guys meant in this mentioned this, that it yeah send your hair to the Gulf like it will be used. Acclaimed oil spill is that her being used now thousand? This idea in here can be used, in fact our smaller still for smaller spills, but they say I read the New York Times a day. They said that there is not deemed feasible after a technical evaluation, no be peace like hey the really good idea, but we are actually going to use real sarbanes right. Real stuff, right, like you said here, can be used, is used on a much smaller scale, but the people, I guess who have really kind of started this initiative. I think it's matter of trust that a San Francisco they said earlier
you asked, for it initially sober can ascendancy in it's up to you to figure out what to do with it, and I sent a hearing. All the hair is being said. The bp anyway, the rolling it in a big hair ball from San Francisco size of a car ego. Sir Chuck, why would you use hair or a better a broader questions? How would you use hair to clean up oil? Well, I guess here would be assortment right. I think sir, so basically assortment is something acts as a giant sponge too, and hit so primitive sounding, but it literally two soaks at the oil from the water, and it can do this because oil sits about an forms of a layer on top of water, specially saltwater about a millimeter thick and the right, times a little more depends, especially at first right right, so it's thickest in the first couple hours, which is when you really want to get to it. If you get to it initially in contain it by using these, boy booms and they float on the water and there's a skirt the hanging.
In the water and it basically keeps it from spreading right. So that's it! That's what you want to oil pen and then you come along with some skimmers that may use centripetal, which is not centrifugal. Centripetal force is wearing new spin, something as the force that poles you to the centre right so because oil is is lighter than water. It will be pull more easily right where the water will be poor, he's really one of the two but it's separatism. You can also just scrape it up and they also have a conveyor belt systems rammers, where the like you just basically like it, just pulls the oil up right after the war.
Yet you know what I didn't find in any this is if they can, because eight they spoke of this oil and put it in a containment tanker. Can the uses oil? Yes, really. You know this. I did. I actually ran across the in research that error there there. Yet they, when you soak it up and you use like see, hair or some other kind of solvent and you can use natural stuff, like gum, pine bark, yet banana fibres, actually they still use out. But that was one for one rights, others. There are some naturally occurring materials that we'll soak up oil more than six a border right in, but you can squeeze it out and there's your oil can really let this happen to it. His has had a chance to mix of water. It is literally they have Ado. That's not gonna oily ragging. He disclosed it into a little containers
oil. So that's you that your job you can also burnt and actually this the most efficient means of taking care of an oil slick year because it sits on top. He can burn it away, but that's clearly not a very good thing to do, because when you burn oil creates and pre noxious fumes for the environment, it does its about ninety five to ninety eight percent. Efficient, though again you wanna, do it away. It's called in situ burning. You wanna, do it when the slick is away from the shore, the shore yeah from say, coral colonies. That kind of stuff right. If it's just down the deep ocean, then in its it hasn't gotten to be a big problem to wear, has travelled toward civilization right then you can dispersed.
Yeah. The other weird thing I thought that you pointed out not weird, but I found it. I was sometimes oh. If it's far enough out, though this leave it alone, yeah, an oil eventually will evaporate cause the sun and the waves and the weather and those same, but the earth take care of it right. The wave action carer, what it's comin sunlight, break, something a photo degradation, maybe maybe, but you remember, when we did the Great Pacific garbage Fatch yeah we're took my how, like the wave action and the sun breaks down plastic, even in the rain. Globules same thing happens to oil, because plastic petroleum based right right. You can also hasten the breakdown by adding Michael
two right yeah, that's the biological agents, yeah yeah! That's when I'm like a fertilizer phosphorus and nitrogen you'll spread at all over it and it ll actually foster the growth of micro organisms and that'll help break it down into fatty acids right Nancy of two. I think right. Yes, yes, you can actually foster the growth of these microbes by adding would you say phosphorus and nitrogen, and when you when you do add these things, that there is a danger of actually going out to the open ocean in creating an anti bloom which creates a dead zone which is not good, so you, if you're, going to use some phosphorus and nitrogen to hasten the growth of microbes, you wanna, do it like a marshlands outside of the title
gotcha well, there's also dispersants. He probably heard this on the news, a lot with with the BP accident and dumb in tropical areas. They handle the handle it with dispersants, and these are chemicals at break the oil down into on the basically breaks oil slick apart into little oil droplets, which can be absorbed into the aquatic system quickly right. But this is not necessarily the now it turns out in two thousand, seven in israeli study found that the combination of chemical, dispersants and partially broken down oil is actually more harmful to coral ecosystem riding
crude oil itself, the end at actually didn't epee. I get on BP and say wait a minute. This dispersant you're using you can't use, go find another. Unlike now, probably I could see that I think that happened. Think everybody's taken a shouted, be peace. There is a kind of general is a landmark now, but check that that study that is study can reveal something that is easy to forget because it so gross looking, but all is natural, so naturally occurring substances, yet you're right. One of the big problems with it is when it becomes broken down, can be enters. The food cycle, yet for change in this equal, the seafood chain right which enters our food chain, because we see food, which is why this represents a business right now, and it also becomes a can it here too sand rebels that kind of stuff and withdrew wave action turns into little tar balls
I realise that their solid on the outside of their exhausting doing the middle and things like that item and choke on, and I think they said, though I mean they said, you said, you'd only wrote it You said that they're, not his dangerous, sometimes to the environment, is a flat out oil problem, but it's still not greater right because their broken up writers separated rather than universe, big, huge slick, but you know officious eating a tar ball and dies, not good same with, like a pelican, her bird, the other problem within oil slick for wildlife. Is there a gets on it breaks, down the water, resistance of mammal fur right and birds aquatic birds which are going to have getting grouped up with the stuff right so there's in Seattle and pelicans, and they get soaked or they poison themselves by trying to lick themselves clean. I can't look at those pictures
This picture you notice, I didn't printed out again. Even I just get him go there heartbreaking. There is also the beach cleaner pry. So we talked about Marsh Clean up right and you can add nitrogen and phosphorus and by a mediator, regret, but you also have beaten You got tar balls on beaches. You have pelicans walkin around like why me and you have to clean up this beach and apparently on Prince William Sound that was the where the ECB S, building Alaska Yes, they said you know what we want to make the Beatles clean again. So we're gonna use high pressure hoses like spray everything off. This is really do anything. It pushes the oil down and actually screw things up were such that into the sand, but the basics
at least in, and they ve been doing that they did that in Alaska, and I dont know if they have plans to do in Louisiana or not. But it's gonna be there Nowhere. The other thing you pointed out, which I thought was interesting- is that at the start to that all this, just the clean up act itself would probably be really bad for the wildlife, and you said that they use them. Throwing scarecrows and dummies and numb balloons to scare off animals that are near. These boats that are trying to contain clean up like get out of here were coming, to try and help yet again another when you mention just leaving it that the that's a viable option right. One of the reasons why, because with about twenty four to forty eight hours, most of the volatile organic compounds found in oil the most toxic stuff, yet evaporates yet her. So
when you have an oil spill, it loses most toxicity within two days, which is good. It is good, but the problem is with the spill like we have now any oil, that's losing its most toxic aspects are being replaced by new oil, constantly so we weird it's big problem than the outgoing. Our I mean you can look at the underwater camera feed until it's a big problem, but you know what you have a few more of the facts. It's really big problem. Youse, actually, today is Thursday. May what twenty eight some twenty seventh- and I was I've- been clicking literally by the minute to see if this top kill thing is worth their babies latest effort to stop this five week old underwater geyser is working an initial reports. I mean this will clearly be known by Tuesday, and this comes out, but they're, saying: oh, we think it might be working, even though our I like shooting, Martins,
down in there's some sort of weird it might be working in our big big. I think that we lower down on top of TAT year that didn't work too good. Another idea to shoot golf balls into it didn't work too good, sir. There was a young shot, they dont even say worked too well. What does your good work good, yet it with Topshop juncture, top Gill junk shot top have till juncture. Big mess that's what it equals. But if you want to know more about cleaning up oil spills, you read my we call on it. I guess there's also articles on offshore, willing in oil spills not clean up so on which, by cover those assembly, so just type in oil spill drilling off shore up, I am a handy search bar- has overstepped com,
right right answers? I had said handy search bar, it seems like that should trigger something it would normally trigger listener Josh Lightwood, what's going on well this week we have a couple of thank yous quickly and then our New York announcements. So everyone knows why. To meet up a New York quickly, though I want to thank us, Steve, Clayton, dot com, they do custom, guitar, picks Rheinart, financial. He wrote in and said: do you in a ban? Your old man ban cover ban, l cheaper, you should died, you want some custom guitar pics he can design it now is like yeah. Let me think about efforts. Yes, so I design my little LP toxic in their pretty cool, it's way cool and he sent me a huge bag of these things, and so I just wanted to say thank you to Steve Clayton dot com and there like big time. They do you like the fire fighters and tenacious de oh yeah.
And now a chief outside their assets. Really so yes, but are you on the website? Is your design on the website to the site and it was very cool now it is actually gonna be on the website. Is someone so thanks to Brian and thank you too Jacob Storm Deathrays they do these pull journals made from library books like we'll, take the frightened that govern a library book and bind it with some of them, the first few pages and then the rest of his blank yeah journals. Thousands and they send some of these. That was really nice and they are at a W W w dot book journals, dot com out of Portland Oregon super creative Burchell. Thank you to both of those right. Well, thanks to one for me, thanks to two from Chuck and chuck right, yeah yeah New York City look out New York City, we're going to New York June. Seventh, we are having a happy hour at the Knitting factory yeah,
the wearing nothing but chaps from five. Thirty. In thirty after that, we're gonna put on our shirts and everything, and we are having a trivial night, a bar trivia night at the Bell House, in Brooklyn on Wednesday, Unite doors open, a six; thirty, rob elbows trivia goes from seven to nine. You can challenge the. Thirteen consisting of Mean Josh Verandas, editor of the young newspaper and two or three unannounced mysteries liberty, guess that will be energy unannounced and committed the ideas you come in. You challenge us if you think you're smart, give attributing together for Wednesday and we will smack you down in the name of smarts and house, the books and our egos. Yes, So there's all that and then the poet blood, oh yeah, guided them
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Transcript generated on 2020-01-28.