May 13th, 2010
12:01 PM ET

Making a mountain to stop the oil

See this island? It wasn't here yesterday.

The Louisiana National Guard poured in tons of sand and rock to fill a 700 foot gap in a barrier island to stop the oil from reaching the estuaries.

The gap was the result of hurricane damage in Elmer's Island, just across the bridge from Grand Isle.

Filled in, the island will now be a part of the last line of defense in Louisiana's scramble to protect it's ecologically sensitive coast. The area is also an important breeding ground for shrimp.

"It's ecologically and economically very important to the local community," Lt. Kyle Galloway told CNN.

soundoff (338 Responses)
  1. gerante

    #184: Look, I'm not saying this is not a colossal disaster...any oil spill is. It's not something any of us asked for. I'm just saying there will be a way and we have to be patient. There needs to be a cap not only on the leak; there needs to be a cap on the hysteria. Top engineers are wracking their brains to find a you think they want this any more than the rest of us? All of these posts represent the broad spectrum of anguish going on and that is a good thing. Personally, I am praying that this "top hat" will work. All we can do is wait and hope, until a permanent solution is found. And, don't forget, all ideas are worth something, so keep them coming.

    May 13, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cliff

    I don't see anybody discussing what will happen when another hurricane comes. 160 mile per hour winds will blow that oil miles inland and will render the deep south unihabitable for decades.

    May 13, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Brent

    I'll still say drill baby drill! Why? Oh yeah, we need oil, we're dependent on it!

    May 13, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. inspiral

    Tom. I know it is a long way bak bu if you read my comment @68 i suggested a fabric pipe that is water and gas permeable.

    May 13, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Krista

    The "top engineers' should've been figuring out what to do in this kind of a catastrophe over the last 20-30 years. The oil companies that have off shore rigs should have these solutions in place. True, there probably isn't a single solution that would work for all scenarios, which means they should've planned for multiple possibilities. Depending on that single valve without a backup plan if it failed is INSANE. If the dome was the first idea they came up with, then someone could've come up with it sooner and had one in storage ready to lower. Same with the smaller 'top hat' and whatever other thing they come up with now.

    May 13, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tracy

    Some of you guys want a good laugh, read gaetano marano's website he has on his first post.. The guy is a complete loon! Its awesome. He is trying to get donations to start a space company.. Some of his "brilliant" ideas include Saving 15% of the weight of an Orion Module by cutting the top 15% off! He also claims to have invented the OLPC and X-prise! He has even make MS Paint "Engineering Diagrams" for putting the well leak!


    Ive spent the last 10 minutes laughing my rear off!

    May 13, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Wizzard

    @Inspiral, once again its the pressure at depth problem to overcome. Yes we might have fabrics at the surface that perform as you say, but what happens when you place that same fabric under 2,000+PSI from all sides? If the sizes of the membranes change (which they surely would), the fabric wouldn't perform as indicated. It basically would have to be designed to operate at that pressure, depth and temperature which I'm quite sure no one has done yet. That alone could take months and months of testing and discovery to make it work right.

    Good idea, just the science hasn't caught up to it just yet.

    May 13, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Michael Ellis

    I am not sure why they need to cap the leak at such depths. I would think an easier solution would be to funnel the oil up using flexible teathered pipe/hose to a depth where a floating dome could catch/pool the oil (warmer water) to be pumped or otherwise retrieved. Even with the currents some flexibility in the tethering could keep it in place.

    May 13, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MCW

    i'm not a drilling engineer but i think the BOP is attached to the wellhead at the top of the surface casing/pipe before further drilling operations are commenced and they drill through it.

    May 13, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rick

    You people all need to realize that you all probably drive cars so you need the oil so it can be refined. This industry creates thousands of jobs in North America alone. Let them solve the problem then get on with clean up. And back to normal we go quit complaining and whining. Get a job.

    May 13, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CK

    We should assume that all of the people that criticize off shore oil driiling do not drive gasoline cars. Correct?

    May 13, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Slick

    Use Mighty Putty!!

    May 13, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jason

    Why not just try this idea?????

    May 13, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MCW

    brent #228 – and that's the bottom line and the reality of the it or not, it's all about the oil (and all means ALL)

    May 13, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. inspiral

    Michael Ellis. That is what i have been saying look at my post @68 fabric tubing connected to a fabric inverted hopper.

    May 13, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
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