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. Mech E

    "oh, you mean they have to follow the laws of physics? Aren't laws meant to be broken? Ask the illegals in AZ... rofl"

    "Burn the oil underwater.
    Dear Lord, please update our educational system, and start with common sense. Amen."

    agreed. We couldn't spend enough in this country to educate anyone. Don't waste time researching conspiracies. Getting an engineering degree and whining that your own goverment is trying to destroy your home is a waste of time

    May 13, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mark

    Trying to cover or fill the pipe with the oil gushing out would be like trying to stop a fire hose by sticking your finger in the end (go ahead, try it). Or, try to spray some fix-a-flat down the end of the fire hose and see what happens.

    The oil is rushing out at roughly 2.5 gallons per second. The force behind that oil is tremendous. Anything they could try to bury or plug it with would simply be blown out of the way.

    The only way to seal it would be to create a cap that would be secure against that tremendous pressure. The end of the pipe is too flimsy to withstand holding that pressure in and would be simply blown open if it was hard-capped. Therefore, the only way to cap the well is to go sub-surface and plug it with concrete, which can be pumped in quickly and would eventually fill up the pipe as it hardens and moves toward the surface thousands of feet away.

    There are no easy answers. This is a true disaster, regardless of who or what is to blame for it.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Matt

    Wow. All of the armchair petroleum engineers on here really blow my mind. Trust me, if BP wants your stupid, ridiculous and physically impossible ideas, they'll ask. Until then, I'd suggest that you stay in school and shut your mouth the next time you feel the need to comment on something you know absolutely nothing about. Reading some of these ideas makes my head hurt and I lose more faith in the overall intelligence of the human race.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. gaetano marano


    the news I've read say that over 300,000 gallons are spilled every day, so, it's nearly 30 million in 3 months
    however, also 19 millions aren't a joke...

    May 13, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe

    I have now become less intelligent due to the stupidity of some of the people on this website.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jack

    Don't be thinking that this is BP's "one and only" priority now... they won't skip a beat as far as lobbying the government to keep their business afloat at any expense...this is nothing more than a blip on their radar, a minor PR issue...

    May 13, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chris R

    "Why don't they harness the oil being spewed out by lowering a pipe around the hole so that the oil being pushed up is diverted onto barges instead of spewing free form onto the surface of the Gulf? Seems too common sense to work but why wouldn't it?"
    –They are trying to do just that. They lowered a 4 story "cap" once that ended up having a sort of crystal form when gas and water mixed, which blocked it and made it buoyant. They just lowered down a smaller cap yesterday to approach it slightly different.

    "Is there any way to stop the oil from gushing out of the seabed? like try and plug it with boulders, cement, something."
    –That is the plan if the "capping" doesn't work in the next few days. They are going to shoot "garbage" into the leaks. The garbage included shredded tires, golf balls, etc.

    Everyone needs to keep up to date with what is being done to stop this before commenting on it IMO.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Flyin11

    "BP management along with Palin and Bush should be locked up, or drowned in their own oil."

    Don't be stupid Chris...No one caused this on purpose...It was a tragic event where a oil rig exploded and it killed people in the process. People are forgetting that. It has nothing to do with Palin, Bush, BP, or anyone else...

    May 13, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. silly rabbit


    May 13, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nathaniel

    What makes this problematic is the depth of this well. Humans cannot operate at these depths. Robotic subs can but are not very capable. I would imagine that the use of explosives would have been considered were it viable. Explosives are used regularly in stopping well fires (by delpleting oxygen feeding the fire). Military would be capable of such an explosive charge were it feasable. However, as someone said above, it more likely is not being considered due to the potential to make the matter worse and open up pentially more fissures releasing more oil than before.

    Sadly, the cement option is probably the safest option for the long term plugging of this leak. And that takes time. Perhaps the only thing thing going for the ecology is that this oil is less of an environmental problem (if one really can compare the lesser of two evils) than that of the Exon Valdez spill. The oil is more biuodegradeable and is further out at sea. So much gets eaten, some evaporates, some clumps.... but the rest is the scary part. The big unknown. I for one would want to know why Republicans are dragging their feet when it comes to an energy policy for the future of our country and the environment. We cannot afford the risks any further.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. steve

    "Everyone needs to keep up to date with what is being done to stop this before commenting on it IMO."

    Thanks Chris R.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Wizzard

    The basic problem is that at this time there are no "experts" at this. They're dealing with something that has has never happened before at a depth where a lot of the l"laws of physics" that we know so much about change. Between the pressure, depth and temperatures, this is a situation that has never had to be dealt with before. Too bad it has to be dealt with now, but hopefully the lessons learned will assit should it ever happen again.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. DAVID M


    May 13, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. steve

    Truly, my biggest worry is Hurricane season approaching. Not only will a hurricane of any size grind the efforts to a halt, but, as strange as this sounds, it probably would result in it raining OIL over a huge swath of land. Not totally oil of course, but the clouds that make up the hurricane would no doubt contain at least some oil.


    May 13, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. krak-ow

    Do the same thing which is done to stop massive bleeding from a cut artery;
    Use a tourniquet , so to speak.
    Presumably there is this long pipe with a start and finish- to vastly simplify it- so, why not "squeeze" it at points to the left and right of the leak.
    By that i mean using any existing technology to cut off the flow not AT the leak, but long before it.
    Then drill a relief hole and insert a pressure valve.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
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