June 9th, 2010
09:27 AM ET

Fix it: Your latest oil disaster solutions

As BP tries various methods to stop the oil disaster scientists, students and imaginative amateurs have suggested ways to stop or clean up the Gulf oil disaster in the days and weeks after the oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers and started the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

CNN is featuring ideas from iReporters and experts alike on TV and taking a closer look at which ones might actually work. iReport: Have an idea on how to fix the oil disaster? Send your ideas

Here is one of your latest suggestions:

You can check out all of the ideas submitted so far on the blog and if you’ve got a solution to share, you can upload your video to CNN iReport.

Send the government your ideas


soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. Gary

    BP cut the pipe of just above a flange. Why not cut/remove the bolts that are holding the flange together, then a new pipe with a flange on it could be bolted to the existing flange. We'd have a mechanical seal then.

    June 9, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  2. wallace willoughby

    Larger ascending rubber stopper with pipe through the middle. Small end into pipe, tight oversize end tightens and seals pipe, releases oil controlled through center pipe into tanker

    June 9, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. Russ Pekelnicky

    What if we drilled a series of holes on the same pocket of oil, that way the oil pressure is decreased, and we can still gather the oil as we need to, and we can plug the bigger leak because pressure is reduced. Is this enourmously expensive? Probably. Would it take more time? I have no idea. It's just a thought.

    June 9, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • heenzie1954

      They're drilling 2 rekief wells that won't be done until August if no hurricanes arrive.

      June 9, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • heenzie1954

      They're drilling 2 relief wells that won't be done until August if no hurricanes arrive.

      June 9, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joseph S.

    My Idea is this. Go out about 1/4 mile to 1/2 a mile and drill at a 45 degree angle towards the pipe. do this in a 5 spoke pattern and load charges down the 5 shafts. then detonate the charges at the same time so it will implode blocking the pipe and the leak with both the pipe and the seabed itself.

    June 9, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  5. Venkata Nauduri

    My feeling is that oil is gushing out of the pipe, not by itself, but something is pumping it (some process) out from behind via the broken pipe.
    I am not sure how the drill process works. but it is pretty clear that something is still running on the background and is primarily pushing the oil up. so why is there no way to locate the process that is causing this and turn it off/shut off ?Or stop it , either by blasting (detonating) if it is hard to reach and detect. or totally cutting off power supply to the entire facility. let all of the machines/machinery completely stop. nothing , absolutely nothing should .be running /.operating. meaning NO POWER supply at all.Then see if the gushing stops. hopefully it will lead to what is causing and then a potential solution.

    June 9, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  6. biro

    Insert a small into the gusher, the pipe can by fitted with a bladder system. Once the pipe is in place, the bladder will be pressurized and block the flow. Then the pipe end can be sealed with the bladder inside. It's done in the medical field, similar approach.After all we must stop this "Earth bleeding" now !!!

    June 9, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  7. April

    Remember June 1979 – IXTOC – Gulf of Mexico – 30,000 gallons/day? It was contained finally after booms, chemicals, oil skimmers and much what is happening now. Same well operator as the one on THIS well. Plumes of oil moved through the water just the same. It went on for months spilling and spreading but no one knew how to stop this. They tried cones. They shot all sorts of junk into the well. They did a 'top kill' maneuver. Finally 2 relief wells were drilled and the old well was capped. It took 9 months to cap it – this was 31 years ago! Why has no one – governments – demanded some form of containment for these accidents? We have made zero advancements other than make the rig even riskier than ever with deeper wells. I guess everyone will have to wait another 7 months before BP does anything useful, even though there is a solution. I'm beginning to think they don't want a solution because they are raking in taxpayer dollars with the chemical dispersants contracts. We need to get rid of publicly traded companies...

    June 9, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • heenzie1954

      That was in 200 feet of water, this is in 5000 feet of water.

      June 9, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Valerie

    Come on people....this is 2010!!!!!!! I can not believe that there is NOT a FIX for this oil leak TRAVESTY.........THIS affects ALL of us....all living things.!!!!!!!!!!

    June 9, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. Thomas from Virginia

    BP go back to the original containment dome...With some slight engineering ,it will not only work but will finish the job untill a releaf well is in place..
    Just install 4 –10 inches vents-openings on top of dome...Maybe the ROVs needs vents to easily close,,although I;m thinking submarine hatches...Open when lowering...Close when in place....You have the answer right there now..
    These simple yet important eliments will allow for the extreme tempiture change as well as the equilisation needed at those depths...Also the open hatches on top will allow the pressure of the oil and gases to escape while the dome is lowered..
    It was Your idea BP. Finish it....Partner...........

    June 9, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. phil

    has anyone called Red Adair or Wild Well Control? these are two of the many companies that took care of the disaster saddam left in kuwait in 1991

    June 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ellen sweets

    i can't speak to solving this immediate probelm, but to make sure it never happens again, (a) launch an immediate inspection of ALL american underwater drilling rigs for emergency backup systems (since we seem to be more derelict in enforcement than other countries); (b) prosecute BP decision makers for criminally negligent homicide: and (c) divert exisiting bonuses, shareholder dividends and ALL BP 2009-10 profits to individuals, industries and small businesses affected by this travesty.

    June 9, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jill

      You've got it right ELLEN SWEETSt! Couldn't have said it better...something needs to be done to BP but the way our government works...because they are in bed with the oil companies, nothing will be done and they will not be held responsible. It sickens me that a thing like this could happen at all and the days and days of oil gushing into our beautiful coastlines is deplorable. It just goes to show you that huge corporations and our government care nothing for America(ns). It's only about PROFITS!

      June 9, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tim

    My idea was to insert a 10” diameter pipe with a rubber bladder or sock around it into the well shaft. Once the pipe is deep enough, start pumping concrete to expand the bladder / sock and expand it to seal the pipe. At the same time you are pumping the concrete, start pumping concrete hardener though a separate pipe inside the larger pipe. As the concrete and hardener are being pumped into the bladder start elevating the pipes leaving the bladder and concrete in place. Leak stopped. This is the idea I sent to BP’s website, haven’t heard anything back.

    June 9, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bill

    I understand that this is a much larger pipe and under very high pressure, but I was wondering if the approach they have taken to seal nuclear reactors in the past could work here much faster, much safer. Forget saving the oil for profit, cut your losses now. The objective should be stop the leak and not scoop oil so it can be sold.

    Why not build a very large dome, of 200’ wide and 200’ high that is super heavy. Place it above the entire underwater structure and add on the top many massive cement blocs and force it to sink below the ocean the ocean floor. The larger the cube, the more it could withstand the oil pressure. Build a man made oil reservoir, at 5,000 feet. That is how Mother Nature kept the oil for a million year! Perhaps it could have a massive valve on top, to help reduce pressure while it is being placed.

    Why seal a hole, seal a much larger surface. This is likely not permanent. But you guys are running out of time.

    June 9, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. BrettFromFL

    This is not going to be fixed with home depot solutions. Please read April's comment on Ixtoc (150 feet depth there – 5000 feet less). This is happening in a place more similar to Jupiter than Jupiter Beach. The pressures are about 1500 times sea level (1 atmospher increase each 33 ft/10m). Imagine compressing the the Petronas towers to 1 foot in height (all of it – the WTC collapses resulted in nearly 100 ft of rubble by comparison) – this isnt a scientific analysis just an illustration. The best submarines implode at half that depth. Add to that the extreme cold of the water. then consider that this isnt an oil spill or oil leak. Its an oil gusher. Those pictures are like 100 fire hoses at the same time. yes, you do need the finesse of a heart surgeon. but does the surgeon work 500 million miles away, with the robotic tools workiing in 1000 atmospheres next to a hurricane of oil?

    Send in Michael Bay (Armageddon, Transformers). it took a bunch of oil men sent in to space to save the earth from an astronomic threat (asteroid). Lets figure out how to send in some rocket scientists to save the planet from an oil-geologic threat.

    Remember, this is not a story of disaster from greed or stupidity. Its a disaster by geniuses who couldnt imaging the unthinkable. Too bad Aisimov, Bradbury and Clark have died. The solution is more likely to come from science fiction than scientists.

    June 9, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johnny

      Nice. What about a larger cap onto the ehisting cap? The designs for this cap are specific so just create a larger cape and a hose or pipe capable of withstanding the pressure? - please e-mail me your thoughts when you have a second

      June 9, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BrettFromFL

    Better idea for the relic ships: Ground them. The big ones probably draft 30-100 feet. ground them across the beaches. they will become semi-submerged reefs. the booms can be anchored to the ships for better effect. the ships house 150-5000 each. hotels for the workers. they all have huge fuel and balast tanks. Suck water in to every tank and hold. This flotilla becomes a barrier. when the wind shifts, raise the boats and ground in new location. small tankers and even temporary pipelines can run from the ships to shore for processing.

    June 9, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
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