Disaster struck on April 20, 2010. An oil rig caught on fire and 4.9 million barrels of oil leaked into the tropical waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It was the largest oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. It was an accident that claimed 11 human lives, and countless animals were injured/killed by this tragedy.
A massive surge to protect beaches, wetlands, and other bodies of water by use of skimmer ships, floating booms, and controlled burns. Due to the spill that lasted one mont, along with adverse effects from the response and cleanup activities, extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats and fishing and tourism industries was reported. In Lousiana alonme, 2002 tons of an oily substance was removed from the water. Clean up crews worked around the clock to clean up the disasterous spill. Oil continued to be found as far from the Macondo site as the waters off the Florida Panhandle and Tampa Bay, where scientists said the oil and dispersant mixture is embedded in the sand. In April 2013, it was reported that dolphins and other marine life continued to die in record numbers. One study released in 2014 reported that tuna that were exposed to oil from the spill developed deformities of the heart and other organs that would be expected to be fatal or at least life-shortening.
Since the Bp oil spill, the EPA has released their response techniques for hazardous subtance releases. As taken directly from the EPA website they are…
- Removing hazardous substances in soil or in containers;
- Burning or otherwise treating hazardous substances;
- Draining waste ponds or repairing leaky waste disposal pits so that hazardous substances do not seep into the ground;
- Using chemicals to stop the spread of the hazardous substance release;
- Encasing hazardous substances in place or otherwise ensuring that winds or rain do not move them around;
- Providing a safe supply of drinking water to people affected by hazardous substance contamination;
- Temporarily moving residents affected by hazardous substance contamination while cleanup activities take place; and/or
- Installing fences to prevent direct contact with hazardous substances.