View Full Version : 3.8 Million Gallons Of Oil Dumped Into The Mississippi River

09-08-2005, 06:05 PM
Oil spillages threaten Gulf of Mexico


By Henry Hamman,Carola Hoyos
Published: September 8 2005 22:06

Oil storage tanks ruptured by Hurricane Katrina may have dumped as much as 3.7m gallons of crude oil into the Lower Mississippi River and surrounding wetlands, threatening widespread damage to the environment.

Officials estimate the spillage is roughly a third of the size of the huge slick caused when the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground off Alaska in 1989. Last night experts said the damage caused by the spillage would be severe in the short term but were hopeful there would be few long-term effects. Some of the oil is expected to find its way into the Gulf of Mexico.

Frank Manheim, an associate professor at George Mason University, and a former geochemist at the US Geological Survey, said the environmental impact “probably will not be very long lasting”. But officials at the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality remain cautious because it is difficult to gain access to the area, which is accessible only by water. Also, it is unclear how much oil has been lost.

The largest spill believed to be about 3.3m gallons of crude oil happened after two 80,000-barrel storage tanks ruptured at a Bass Enterprises Production site at Cox Bay, Louisiana, which is just above the mouth of the river.

It is understood the tanks were not full at the time of the rupture. Nevertheless, officials estimate the spill could be as big as a 1969 incident following a blowout at an offshore well near Santa Barbara, California. That accident is widely seen as a seminal moment in the development of the US environmental movement.

The second spill at the Murphy Oil Corporation refinery at Meraux, Louisiana is thought by state officials to have released 420,000 gallons of crude into a flooded area around the refinery.

The Murphy spill was discovered by aerial surveillance a few days ago. The Coast Guard, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and a clean-up contractor are working at the site to contain the oil. Eric Olsen, a spokesman for the National Resources Defense Council, said the environmental group was attempting to monitor the clean-up and remained concerned about possible threats to drinking water in the area.

Meanwhile, concern is mounting over the pumping of polluted water from New Orleans into Lake Ponchartrain. It is expected to cause significant short-term environmental damage, including killing fish.

Experts said the lake and river estuary should not suffer significant long-term damage. But Dwight Bradshaw, a senior environmental scientist with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, warned that the flood water could be polluted with “things that are serious that we don't know about”.

These included pesticides and toxic chemicals from trucks and barges. “These could be a big concern,” he said.

09-08-2005, 08:57 PM
maybe that's why i'm sick now.

09-08-2005, 11:42 PM
maybe that's why i'm sick now.

If I mailed you some empty barrels do you think you can do me a favor and fill them up with some of that free oil in the river. Thanks darling. :chug:

09-09-2005, 12:15 PM
If I mailed you some empty barrels do you think you can do me a favor and fill them up with some of that free oil in the river. Thanks darling. :chug:
haha sure thing! :)

09-09-2005, 11:22 PM
haha sure thing! :)

Somones driving to Vegas next week on a full tank of gas.


11-23-2007, 05:23 AM

Bay Area spill takes toll on diving duck

By TERENCE CHEA, Associated Press Writer 51 minutes ago

Thousands of birds have been found dead or blackened since an oil spill two weeks ago, but no species has been hit harder than the surf scoter, a migratory sea duck that had already seen a precipitous population decline in recent decades.

The spill occurred when a cargo ship struck the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, releasing nearly 60,000 gallons of toxic shipping fuel into one of North America's most important estuaries. It came during the fall arrival of hundreds of thousands of migratory birds to San Francisco Bay, where a mild climate and abundant food make it a key wintering ground for shorebirds, seabirds and waterfowl.

At least 1,365 birds have been found dead, and more than 1,000 oiled birds have been captured alive and taken to a wildlife care center in Solano County to be cleaned and rehabilitated.

Although 27 different species are represented, surf scoters make up about 40 percent of the captured birds and more than 25 percent of the dead ones, said Michael Ziccardi, who heads the Oiled Wildlife Care Network that has been leading the bird rescue effort.

Scoters, which live on the bay and dive for clams, mussels and sand crabs below, have been disproportionately affected because they spend almost all their time in the areas hit hardest by the spill, scientists say.

The stout sea duck breeds in the remote lakes and wetlands of Canada's northern boreal forests and migrates south to spend winters in San Francisco Bay and other points along the Pacific Coast. A smaller population winters on the Atlantic Coast.

Though not listed as a threatened or endangered, their population — now estimated at 500,000 worldwide — has declined 50 to 70 percent in the past four decades, experts say. About 25,000 to 30,000 are killed each year by sport hunters in the U.S. and Canada, mostly on the Atlantic Coast.

"This oil spill just adds insult to injury and creates greater stress on these birds," said Elizabeth Murdock, who heads the Golden Gate Audubon Society, which has recruited hundreds of volunteers to help recover oiled birds.

Scientists are trying to understand the surf scoter's steep and steady decline. They believe it might be linked to ecological changes caused by global warming in their breeding grounds in Canada's Northwest Territories, as well as by industrial contaminants in their wintering grounds in urbanized areas like San Francisco Bay.

"They're being hit on both sides of their life cycle," said Jeff Wells, a biologist with the Boreal Songbird Initiative and author of "Birder's Conservation Handbook." "It's a major cause for concern. When you see something that drastic, it's telling you something about changes in the environment."

When the oil gets on the birds' feathers, it impairs their ability to keep dry and warm, forcing many to shore — away from their food supply. Some birds become sick when they ingest the fuel while trying to clean their feathers.

In winter, San Francisco Bay is home to around 10 percent of the world's surf scoters, and biologists worry the spill could hurt its future breeding since the oiled scoters were mostly healthy adults.

"It definitely could have an effect on overall populations," said John Takekawa, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey who helped track scoters from the bay to their Canadian breeding grounds. "There could be a lasting effect over time."

Other bird species suffering from the spill include waterfowl such as scaup and ruddy ducks, seabirds like the common murre and shorebirds such as western and eared grebes. Several brown pelicans and marbled murrelets — both federally protected species — were found oiled but alive.

Wildlife workers and volunteers combing the shores continue to find a dwindling number of live and dead birds, but most of the oiled animals will never be found, scientists say. In other spills, only about one in 10 affected birds is recovered.

"We're only seeing a relatively small portion of the overall number of animals impacted," Ziccardi said. "Within two weeks, most of the animals that were initially oiled have been collected or unfortunately have already died."

Biologists say the so-called bunker fuel, which is loaded with pollutants and slow to break down, has entered the food chain. They worry the spill could threaten the bay's ecosystem and wildlife for years.

"Based on other oil spills," said John Bradley, a biologist with the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, "it will be months before the cleanup has ended and it will be five or more years before things will be somewhat back to normal."