MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) - Since the oil rig exploded, local and national agencies havebeen doing everything they can to contain the oil and stop it fromcoming ashore. The Coast Guard has been trying to block the slick,but the agency is tweaking its approach.
Since the Deepwater Horizon blast, oil has been spewing into theGulf of Mexico, now at rates approximately 5,000 barrels a day.Agencies from Louisiana to Florida are working hard trying tocontain the leak and guard the coastline. The Coast Guard is usingboom as a barrier.
"Boom is essentially a fence or a gate in the water that keepsthe floating oil from going any further. If you see it, it floatson the water, then there's anywhere from 18 to 48 inches hangingbeneath it you can't see, that guards the oil passing by," Lt.James McKnight said.
McKnight said boom works great in calm water. But some of theirrecent efforts have been washed away by stormy weather. The roughwaters have caused the oily water to lap over the boom, ripping itapart.
"Our estimation is we put out approximately 19,000 feet of boomyesterday and our goal today is to put out 50 percent more. One ofthe big goals today is to better tend the boom, figure out new waysof keeping it anchored and in place and keeping track of it. Partof what we're doing is employing local vessels to help us withthis. One of the anticipations is using local vessels to keep aneye on boom and where it is," McKnight said.
The yellow and orange boom are just one of the ways the CoastGuard is protecting our shoreline. There's another safeguard forwhen the oil finally makes landfall.
"Absorbent boom. It kind of looks like links of sausage and it'swhite. It's an oil absorbent material. It attracts oil and soaks itup like a sponge. Oil is coming, it is going to get there. We wantto make sure we do everything we can to guard against that,"McKnight added.
The Coast Guard said it also may use barriers to help ward offthe oil. The National Guard builds barriers that are made of a wiremesh with a membrane lining. They can fill it with sand, rocks orsea shells to keep it in place.
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