Adm. Thad Allen, the government's point man for the oil disaster, has authorized BP to replace the existing blowout preventer with a new one. The changes will come prior to the completion of a relief well and the eventual "bottom kill" operation intended to permanently plug the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico.
Earlier, Allen told CNN the "bottom kill" operation should be complete by the week after Labor Day.
The forecast comes as scientists, professors and members of seafood organizations prepare to testify at a hearing on the safety of Gulf seafood before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
The spill began after an April 20 explosion on the offshore drilling platform Deepwater Horizon that killed 11 men. Two days later, the platform sank and oil started gushing into the Gulf. The broken well was temporarily capped July 15, but a bottom kill, to be carried out by way of a relief well, is considered the final solution.