More than a year after the tragedy, which claimed 11 lives and poured an indeterminable amount of crude oil into the pristine waters of the gulf, assessments of the environmental damage, costs to its people and their livelihoods have varied from not as bad as forecast to treacherous in the case of paths to financial compensation shortfalls. Most of the surface oil has been captured or dispersed but speculation among environmentalists concerning the effects of the vast underwater plumes that continue to spread across the gulf haunt coastal residents. Hundreds of miles of beaches have been reclaimed with only a fraction still soiled. EPA officials say that the seafood is edible. Local economists say that jobs are returning and the federal agency responsible for policing offshore drilling has been restructured.
In April, 2011, the Justice Department announced that an agreement had been announced between BP and the trustees who have oversight of natural resources damage assessment for BP to provide a $1 billion down payment for ongoing restoration projects. It is believed the agreement is the largest of its kind ever reached.
After 86 days BP contractors were able to stop the leak at the Macondo well. Estimates for the initial and ongoing cleanup costs ranged from 300 Million Dollars to half a billion dollars, with the majority of the expense being used to pay for manual labor by cleanup workers, cost for skimmer ships, waste disposal and at least 50 Million Dollars worth of barrier booms. It is estimated that at least 10,000 miles of barrier booms, used to soak up and contain the spread of oil slicks, were used during the initial 60 days of the spill. An additional 5,000 miles of boom devices were ordered and kept in reserve at staging areas along coastal towns and villages from Brownsville Station, TX along the Gulf of Mexico to as far south as Key West, Florida.
One of the companies involved in the cleanup, Kontak Corporation, located in Bonaire, GA, had a hand in supplying remediation technologies, called, ‘KONTAK ™’, an adsorptive product made from natural beeswax that helps stimulate natural organisms to speedup breakdown of hydrocarbons, was used extensively in the cleanup efforts throughout the gulf region. The Kontak ™ powder has the consistency of granulated sugar, is made with 100% natural components and is ideal for use in eco-sensitive areas such as marshes, estuaries, grasslands, mangroves and is presently being used to cleanup oil spilled on Beaver Dams along the Rainbow Pipeline in Alberta, Canada. Kontak Corporation, through an affiliate company that supplied approximately 40% of all the barrier booms used during the Deepwater-Horizon oil spill, supplied Kontak Booms ™, Kontak Soxs ™ and Kontak-Sprinkle ™ for use in most of the eco-sensitive areas impacted by the BP Horizon Spill along the sensitive coastal areas.
The Kontak ™ products have their foundation in US Patent # 5,807,724 invented by Dr. Joseph A. Resnick of Bonaire, GA and first deployed in 1989-1990 during the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound Alaska. Dr. Resnick, a former NASA Scholar and research scientist, holds 26 patents on numerous products marketed worldwide.
Cleanup operations regarding the BP-Horizon oil spill were curtailed in April, 2011 when the EPA disbanded the cleanup operations center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. When the cleanup operations were finalized contractors and vendors were left with surplus oil spill cleanup products, such as adsorptive pads, skimmers and barrier booms.
“Part of Kontak Corporation’
Perplexed at what to do with 55 miles of surplus booms that he could not give away for free, Dr. Resnick did what he says he does best: “Invent something new, some new way to use the assets, help people and the gulf at the same time.” With his thinking cap on Dr. Resnick came up with a way to both utilize the surplus booms while continuing his personal efforts to help the people living in the affected regions and to help to restore the Gulf of Mexico.
Dr. Resnick said, ‘What I’ve come up with is a memento of this disaster in the form of a small shadow-box containing an actual artifact intended for use in the cleanup of the BP Deepwater-Horizon Oil Spill, in this case a 6" piece of actual boom. What I’ve done is take a 6-inch piece of one of the new (surplus) booms, cut it into a 6-inch piece, rolled it, tucked and clamped the ends, and placed it in a Shadow Box along with a photo of one of the US Coast Guard boats that was actually deployed during the cleanup efforts. People wishing to help restore the gulf can visit a special website where they can purchase one of these for just a few dollars, with all of the proceeds from sales going to support restoration efforts for residents and communities along the Gulf of Mexico". The URL for the website is http://www.vaswebdesigns.com/
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A new way of cleaning up oil spills called, "bioremediation"