Sunday, June 15, 2014

Just What Does Happen When There's An Underground Oil Spill: For The Archives

For the archives. This is a very, very interesting story about the evolution of an underground oil spill. The Star Tribune is reporting:
Pollution control experts once doubted that subsurface microbes could break down oil because of the lack of oxygen. But scientists working at the Bemidji site published scientific studies in the 1990s that showed otherwise.
“Those results got nationwide attention,” said Barbara Bekins, a USGS research hydrologist based in Menlo Park, Calif., who coordinates research at the Bemidji site.
As a result, “natural attenuation” was recognized as a cost-effective way to remove underground pollution, especially from urban gas station tanks where digging up blocks of property isn’t an option.
Scientists on the Bemidji Crude Oil Research Project also have made discoveries about the spread of pollution “plumes” underground, pioneered ways to measure natural breakdown of oil and learned about how petroleum-eating bacteria work.
Research at the site has shown that bugs rapidly eat toxic, water-soluble compounds such as toluene and benzene. The spread of such compounds in the site’s water table has halted about 500 feet of the spill. “Toluene is 100 percent gone,” Bekins added.
Much of the remaining oil floats atop the water table, about 2-feet thick. But it hasn’t moved far, suggesting that even a major oil spill doesn’t necessarily pollute an entire aquifer. That’s been a worry about the massive Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska, where antipipeline activists oppose building TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline.
“The position that … one pipeline release to a sandy aquifer is going to destroy the aquifer forever, the science doesn’t back that up,” said Paul Meneghini, a senior environmental manager for Enbridge.
This is a very, very long story. Very interesting.  Quite surprising: in the StarTribune.

The Trainwreck

Also for the archives.

The New York Times is reporting that hundreds of thousands of folks are going to get a chance to explain to federal officials why some data just doesn't seem to mesh. 
The Obama administration is contacting hundreds of thousands of people with subsidized health insurance to resolve questions about their eligibility, as consumer advocates express concern that many will be required to repay some or all of the subsidies.
Of the eight million people who signed up for private health plans through insurance exchanges under the new health care law, two million reported personal information that differed from data in government records, according to federal officials and Serco, the company hired to resolve such inconsistencies.

No comments:

Post a Comment