Oil Eating Microbes Ready to Clean up the Coast

jbtutt13 — May 17, 2010 — The Texas Land Office and Texas Water Commission successfully used ‘oil eating’ microbes to clean up large oil spills in just weeks. Microbes hunt down and eat the toxic oil and leave only a biodegradable waste that is non-toxic to humans and marine life. Marshland and beaches were pristine again in just weeks—not years like the Exxon Valdez spill. This is the answer to save the seafood industry and all the precious creatures we are about to kill.


My undergraduate degree was a major Microbiology and a minor in Chemistry.  While I was in college in the 1970’s these microbes were being studied.  So this is not new.  Clearly the technology has progressed to the point of being used in some fairly major situations.  It is such a non-toxic, natural solution that it makes you ask if it could really be all that simple.  The problem is not that the microbes are not present in naturally occurring situations; the problem is one of delivery to the point of need and even that appears to have been resolved now.

Watch the video and ask yourself why this is not being used in the current situation in the Gulf.  I am guessing if we spread the word and ask the question enough it will be in short order.  Dang, it just makes too much sense!  Not as much fun as a crisis, but certainly better for the people and animals impacted by the spill.  Why with solutions like this we should be able to expand drilling and become energy self sufficient in no time at all!

I have been working to open up the Alaska Natural Wildlife Reserve for years.  It is such a shame that we have prevented that for so many years.  These little bugs can help up there too as needed.  I’d love it if we never had to import another drop of oil.  Let the free market go and we’ll be amazed at what is possible!

For Life and Liberty,


For More Information and related links:

OIL-EATING MICROBE! Could it be the answer?

BP tussles with latest bid to contain oil spill



6 Responses to “Oil Eating Microbes Ready to Clean up the Coast”

  1. Tweets that mention Oil Eating Microbes Ready to Clean up the Coast « Finding Gems & Sharing Them -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Duliece Melton, Sandie, Sandie, MIgrassroots, Grassroots Nebraska and others. Grassroots Nebraska said: Sharing a Gem: Oil Eating Microbes Ready to Clean up the Coast: jbtutt13 — May 17, 2010 — … http://bit.ly/9RHBkh #clcs #r3s #tporg […]

  2. David K. Sumrell Says:

    I read the story about the oil eating microbes. I think there is a reason why these microbes even exist. God has provided man with another way to fix our mistakes. This is not a fix all answer; however it sure seems like He does protect the foolish… we need to learn a lesson from this unexpected tragedy.

    We have technology and the ability to put safeguards in place, so that this can not happen again. If technology is not available for counter efffects, then we need to learn the lesson, we are experiencing….

  3. Robb Says:

    We have a strain of microbe from Prudhoe Bay. This microbe has been tested by various government agencies. We are in the process of incubating large quantities and hope to play a major roll in the Gulf clean up.

  4. Sandra Crosnoe Says:

    Reposted from Facebook message from Duliece Melton 06/13/10:

    This comes from a very good friend of mine. Don’t know if you remember that my brother is a hydro-geological engineer and a world-wide expert on underground horizontal wells.

    This is his answer to my question regarding the mess in the gulf. Thought you might be interested in his perspective.

    Well no doubt they screwed up. It’s like I tell everyone, whenever you see those scenes in the movies where the well starts spewing oil up in air and everyone stands underneath it celebrating—well if that happens in real life, someone’s ass is being fired. Between lost oil and environmental penalties, no one can afford to let that happen.

    Initially I thought maybe more of the responsibility fell on Trans Oceanic, who was BP’s drilling subcontractor for that rig. Either they weren’t paying attention or didn’t have the blowout preventer (BOP) working, etc. However, yesterday on the news I heard that Trans Oceanic people reported a disagreement with BP about drilling protocol. Apparently the BP representative insisted that they switch from drilling mud to just drilling with seawater. Well drilling mud weighs considerably more than seawater, usually on the order of 9 to 10.5 pounds per gallon (depending on type of clay used for the mud, barium additives, etc.), compared with 8.34 pounds per gallon regular fresh water and about 8.6 pounds per gallon for seawater. This translates to 0.447 psi/ft depth for seawater vs. say about 0.52 psi/ft depth using drilling mud. That may not sound like much difference, but when you multiply it out by a couple thousand feet of drilling depth it can make a substantial difference of a couple hundred psi or so. That’s why the mud engineer on the rig is the most important guy there.

    Apparently the BP guy told the mud engineer to stop using mud, pull it out of the hole and start using seawater instead. It wasn’t a discussion as much as he said “Do it because I say so”. The mud engineer had been seeing signs of developing pressure and presumably suspected they were getting close to the “pay zone” so he objected, but got overruled. Coincidentally, and unfortunately, the mud engineer was one of the 11 men killed on the rig when it caught on fire. The BP guy may have been thinking that because they were drilling in a mile deep ocean, he had a pressure head of 5000 feet of seawater anyhow, so that would compensate against the pressure in the oil formation. In hindsight, obviously not. Then when the hole blew out, the rig operator initially hesitated to close the blowout preventer until he got authorization. That was another big mistake. Although it didn’t take long to get that authorization, by the time he did the fire had destroyed the connection to the blowout preventer, so that it couldn’t be operated and wouldn’t close. At that point, everyone knew they were screwed.

    There is a lot being debated in the media about how much oil in barrels per day is escaping from the hole. I think that debate is mostly useless, because it is what it is. And everyone needs to appreciate how difficult it is to estimate even if you’re trying. First of all, although everyone looks at the black cloud-like plumes escaping from the hole, it is difficult to estimate what percentage of that is actually oil—it’s actually a mixture of oil, water, mud and natural gas. Only one of those, the oil, is detrimental. Even in the ground, you don’t find pockets of pure oil—it’s an oil/water mixture. That’s partially why you need refineries. The oil may be 10% or 70% or who knows what percentage of the formation fluid. Presumably they have some idea of what they typically find in that oil-bearing pay zone, but any estimate would still be a +/- approximation. Then there is the natural gas mixing as bubbles in the billowing plume volume as well as just water encountered in and around the borehole. I’m sure when BP initially estimated the rate of loss, they probably had a range and reported the low end of the range to minimize the appearance of the damage. Nevertheless, anyone who says they accurately know the rate of loss in any given amount of barrels per day is just kidding themselves.

    With regard to our discussion of borehole pressure above, you’ll note that the way they’re trying to “kill” the well is by pumping in drilling mud and then ultimately concrete (about 15 to 16 pounds per gallon, 0.8 psi/ft of depth). Basically the inverse of what was needed to prevent the blowout in the first place.

    Environmental cleanup of course will be a huge problem. Despite their looks, the rainbow sheen areas really aren’t that bad—that stuffs biodegrades pretty quickly, especially if you add some nutrients such as phosphates and nitrogen. The bacteria eat that up like it’s candy. In fact, one of our problems when we sample contaminated water is to keep that stuff from degrading before we can get it to the lab to analyze. Even with thicker floating layers, anything under about a 1/16 of an inch or so can be handled ultimately without too much difficulty. Also, when it gets on a sandy beach, that’s one of the best places for it. If it’s real thick and gummy, they can scrape it off for treatment. If it’s thin enough, it actually would be pretty easy to treat it in place—we call that “land farming”. Basically you add nutrients like I mentioned above, sometimes add bacteria if they aren’t indigenous (which they usually are), then maybe rototill/scarify the sand, and it biodegrades pretty quickly—probably in a couple months, which is probably how long it’s going to take them to deal with it otherwise. When it’s in the wetlands, that’s of course a different problem, and more difficult to deal with. Obviously, the wildlife is a concern there. Nevertheless, we construct artificial man-made wetlands as treatment systems for landfill leachates, mine leachate, and a variety of other treatment needs—it’s quite common in my environmental field. Wetlands are a great system for removing contaminants. Unfortunately in this case, they are also a natural habitat for a wide variety of wild life, so if nothing else that’s a big public relations issue.

    Despite BP’s culpability, the government isn’t looking real good here either. The US EPA totally screwed up when they added that dispersant, which coagulated the oil into globules that then began to sink below the surface. Likewise, the US Army Corps of Engineers postponed installing any barriers in front of the wetlands because they wanted to study the problem further—like that makes any sense. I can’t tell you how many times I have faced similar government agency foot-dragging responses that don’t make sense, but it is so futile when trying to deal with them. It’s like the Army—you have to have a 70 page manual telling you how to construct a latrine, regardless of how bad you need to go to the bathroom—just ask xxxx. Nobody, however, can make a case-by-case individual decision without having it codified ad infinitum—nobody can think for themselves because that would put their ass on the line, and nobody is willing to do that. So regulations and procedures are codified to be applied to all situations, regardless of site-specific needs. That’s why xxxxx can’t wait to retire and get away from those blockheads.

    Bottom line—there will be finger pointing galore with this one. But without doubt, for my money, the guy that needs to hang is the BP guy who made them switch to seawater for drilling fluid. By the way, he refused to show up for the congressional hearing on this, citing poor health. Yeah, I would be sick if I were him too.

    Have a good weekend, but don’t eat any shrimp or fish from the Gulf.

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