75% of BP oil spill cleaned/dissolved. Remaining 25% might take longer

So the big headline today is that government scientists have declared that about 75% of the BP oil spill is gone. Evaporated, biodegraded, metabolized by bacteria, scooped up and dumped in a landfill, scooped up and processed into crap BP can see, etc.

Link

What I've also heard is that the remaining 25% - and I don't know the precise quantities so it could be a great deal less than that - might not go away so quickly. Don't think of it as some sort of timer that starts ticking the moment the oil is exposed. Instead, think of it as three-fourths of the ingredients in that sludge evaporating, leaving behind something different and more durable. That stuff could stick around for months, or years, or decades. Maybe even longer.

Don't get me wrong, it's good that the slick is largely taken care of. What worries me is that there seems to be some implication that the next 25% will be just as quick and easy as the first 75% and that soon it'll be like there was never any spill to begin with. I don't think we'll be quite so lucky.

This is my believing-them face.

I find it exceptionally hard to believe them, especially when the claim is that the dispersant counts as removing the oil from the water.

Likewise, 75% of the cyanide I mixed into your drink is fully dissolved. Just drink around the little clumps.

I saw that headline earlier, and my office neighbors thought I suddenly developed Tourrette's Syndrome.

To put it succinctly, I do not believe their number. I'd be hard-pressed to believe they even got 50% of it yet.

How could they figure that they have 75% when they still do not know how much oil was released in the first place. I understand the desire to show that they do not have another Katrina on their hands, however this seems like a bit of a ... logical leap to me. I guess that they are going to say that anything else over "25%" is "natural seepage" and wash their hands of it.

Kraint wrote:

This is my believing-them face.
I find it exceptionally hard to believe them, especially when the claim is that the dispersant counts as removing the oil from the water.

If we cannot see it, it is gone, right? Why do I have the sinking suspicion that BP cleaned the same way I used to by just cramming sh*t into my closet and shutting the door to make my mom happy?

I'm gonna say that the 80/20 rule probably applies here.

KingGorilla wrote:
Kraint wrote:

This is my believing-them face.
I find it exceptionally hard to believe them, especially when the claim is that the dispersant counts as removing the oil from the water.

If we cannot see it, it is gone, right? Why do I have the sinking suspicion that BP cleaned the same way I used to by just cramming sh*t into my closet and shutting the door to make my mom happy?

That's all well and good for you and your mom, but what about the whales?

Also, please take those whales out of your closet.

Follow-up. Short version: I (by which I mean the friend I shamelessly plagiarized) was right.

Kraint wrote:

This is my believing-them face.

Oh god. I read that, then glanced left to your avatar. I think I may be emotionally scarred for life.

Strewth wrote:
Kraint wrote:

This is my believing-them face.

Oh god. I read that, then glanced left to your avatar. I think I may be emotionally scarred for life.

Don't worry, 75% of your mental agony will dissolve naturally within a few weeks. Trust me.

dejanzie wrote:

Don't worry, 75% of your mental agony will dissolve naturally within a few weeks. Trust me.

Introducing dispersal agents such as alcohol and haagen daaz will certainly aid this natural process with no adverse side-effects.

BP publish the internal investigation into the 20th April accident on Deepwater Horizon: http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarti...

Quick and dirty copy from the Press release:

* The cement and shoe track barriers – and in particular the cement slurry that was used – at the bottom of the Macondo well failed to contain hydrocarbons within the reservoir, as they were designed to do, and allowed gas and liquids to flow up the production casing;
* The results of the negative pressure test were incorrectly accepted by BP and Transocean, although well integrity had not been established;
* Over a 40-minute period, the Transocean rig crew failed to recognise and act on the influx of hydrocarbons into the well until the hydrocarbons were in the riser and rapidly flowing to the surface;
* After the well-flow reached the rig it was routed to a mud-gas separator, causing gas to be vented directly on to the rig rather than being diverted overboard;
* The flow of gas into the engine rooms through the ventilation system created a potential for ignition which the rig’s fire and gas system did not prevent;
* Even after explosion and fire had disabled its crew-operated controls, the rig’s blow-out preventer on the sea-bed should have activated automatically to seal the well. But it failed to operate, probably because critical components were not working.

Wow. When you put it like that it sounds like freaking Chernobyl.

Do they mention why "critical components" were not working? I recall reading one interview that said someone did something stupid during a test of the blow-out preventer and they gave it an "all-clear" despite the big chunks of rubber coming up out of the well.

LobsterMobster wrote:

Wow. When you put it like that it sounds like freaking Chernobyl.

You're right, the sort of knock on breakdowns and stunning human stupidity involved makes is sounds very similar.

No, really, the Gulf oil disaster this spring/summer is such old news. Come on newspeople, move on, we've got celebrity news to get back to already!

Those fish/crabs/eels/whale are FDA approved.

FWIW, I don't recall ever hearing or seeing in my life (I grew up southern Louisiana) of a fish kill as extreme as what they're reporting this year. It's entirely possible that it's simply from the annual dead zone at the mouth of the Mississippi, but the simpler and more likely explanation is that the magnitude of it has something to do with the oil spill mess.

The theory the article mentioned about the oil-eating-microbes destroying the oxygen levels of the Gulf made a lot of sense to me, considering that fertilizer-eating-microbes from the agricultural run off is what causes the smaller dead zones.

After all, isn't the difference between petroleum and fertilizer pretty minimal from a hungry microbe army's perspective?

Seth wrote:

After all, isn't the difference between petroleum and fertilizer pretty minimal from a hungry microbe army's perspective?

Well, when you put it that way, no, there really isn't much difference.

They're finding a layer of oily sand at the bottom of the ocean now.

Link

Guess they found that last 25%. Of course we can't see it, so who cares?

According to modern theories, oil is the product of organic sediment (simple organisms mostly) on the ocean floor accumulating for thousands of years, and then being buried under the floor due to tectonic shifts, and cooking there for some more millions of year.

So in a way, oil is returning to its primordial source?