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. chris

    Mark is right on. Can't blow it up, too much risk of making it worse.

    Can;t just plug it easily, pressure it way to high

    Right now they just want to find a way to temporarily cap it until they can get a perm fix in place.

    The million dollar qeustion is why the emergency cap did not work where the Captain pushed the blow button. Human error or a fatal design flaw. With so many rigs in use and the clear knowledge that we need to do deep sea drilling, it is of concurrent urgency that they find out the cause.

    If not we all will be working for the sheiks-– or driving golf carts to work! vroom!

    May 13, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MCW

    raining oil...that's a good one!

    May 13, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. steve

    @Jason (#70)
    BP has already committed to paying for the cleanup in its entirety. I'm not sure they are actually the ones who know how to deal with it.

    For instance, I paid for my car and if it breaks, I pay to have it fixed. But I have no idea how to fix it.

    Krak-ow #60-
    Not sure a tourniquet approach would work. The difference is these pipes are presumably solid – not flexible like skin, so as soon as enough pressure is applied to them, they'll actually snap instead of get tighter.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. gaetano marano

    yes, where is Swarzy? 🙂

    May 13, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jaci

    The former CEO of Shell was on a morning show today and mentioned he had shared with BP a potential solution of using large ships in a joint effort to skim the surface oil thus reducing contamination. When asked why we haven't seen or heard of this as an option for the clean up efforts, he did not have a direct answer.... I'm wondering why all efforts are not being exhausted, especially given that this proposed method has been tested and successful on a past disaster in another part of the world.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bob Brown, Fort Lauderdale, FL

    I may not be the only person that beileive that anything can happen when dealing with flamable substances... I hope this brings forth a new law that any drill that drills for flamable sor near substances that are flamable must have on hand precautions in order to stop what happened or may not drill and the United States of America and all 50 states can sue individually and put out of business if necessary if such a company is not prepared... All states may sue for los of food source, jobs jost, damage to fresh air/water and any other damages not thought about.

    In my lifetime 2 oil companies allowed this to happen boats should be locked into place with indavidual codes so as to find out whom was neglegent. The lock business should go with any carrier or containment or does any service to crude oil to sepperate it of it's substances flamable or not.

    It is bad enough that we are suffering because of environmental polutants and there someday sooner than anyone knows will be without and will be too late when we suffocate or burned because someone was careless and a big company was allowed to overlook... I think that all oil companies should work together to repair the damage to the leak and to the navicable waters on BP's dime. The US government should be the supervisor and put someone incharge like it saves the country from attack. This makes me ill with all that the consumers pay to ensure good quality maintenance!

    May 13, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pattie

    Maybe we should use the heads of BP's CEO's to plug this...they are big enough 🙂

    May 13, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. adelecaelia

    @A Chem E

    I don't think Johnny Depp can do anything for us.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. steve

    MCW – you don't see raining oil as a genuine concern?

    May 13, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mael

    Wizzard – I think you're right in that this is something that hasn't been dealt with before so the solutions are all being thought up now, and it is only when they attempt a fix (i.e. containment dome) that they find it won't work for some unforeseen reason (i.e. ice). As for burning the oil underwater, I'm not sure that is possible even with oxygen piped to that depth. Oil from the ground is far from pure – it already has an extremely high water content which is separated out via chemical and mechanical process during extraction. To burn the oil off, you would need a constant flame hot enough to vaporize the surrounding water as well.

    A solution will be found, but the damage we incur until that happens is the question.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chris R

    "None of this ever should have happened. There should have been a dome or series of them to protect against evenst such as this. Just because you don't think it will happen doesn't mean it won't. Every well in the world that's under a body of water should have some kind of protective system such as a dome over it to prevent this loss – loss of ecology, economy, fuel... I can't believe anyone in the oil industry would think a simple pipe and valve is "good 'nuf". Idiots."
    –The blowout valve on the ocean bottom up till now has been a good enough solution to a problem like this. Its just this time it didn't work 100% for reasons unknown. There may be something blocking it. They have said it has partially worked, for without it the leak would be MUCH bigger than it is now.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bell

    Folks – The cost issue doesn't hold water. They are already drilling another well to relieve the pressure from this one. Blowing up the well is just a terrible idea. So is drilling another well that might burst, but whatever...

    Forget our possible solutions, why are all the higher ups in these companies fighting in DC about who caused the issues, they should all be there trying to solve it, or at least watching it happen so they can feel the guilt. I'm sure they aren't bright enough to fix this, Yes, lets place blame on a crime still in progress....crazy,

    I feel a little left out regarding crazy ideas... so I suggest we send down a manned submersible, there are plenty that will dive that depth. They can come in under the leak, avoiding the oil, then essentially clamp a sleave over the leaking area.


    May 13, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MCW

    I don't see it raining oil, period. For the oil to get into the atmosphere it would need to evaporate. The temperature at which oil evaporates is well above any normal, or above normal, temperatures anywhere in the world. But remember, by no means am I discounting the environmental disaster we have on our hands.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ELITE

    Sacrifice an expensive robotic sub and stick it into the hole ..

    or better yet attach a heavy weight at the bottom of the sub and park it ontop of the leak.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Palin is a twit

    It's simple. We use the giant lasers which were left orbiting our planet by our alien overseers eons ago. If all the beams were to converge on the well site at the same time, we could melt the rock and plug the well. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for my pill.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
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