Sunday, May 30, 2010

oil, water and sawdust part 3

I am in West Palm Beach, Florida, and my readers had asked about whether or not sawdust would remove oil from sea water. My readers had also inquired whether or not it would work with heavier viscosity oil, like one would encounter in crude. So this is my test. Water from the sea, chain saw oil, water, and sawdust from the local Home Depot.

You can see the results. Just as I expected, the sea water and thicker oil made no difference to the results. The addition of sawdust allowed the oil to be removed with a common teaspoon.

Engineers used to claim that dilution was the solution to pollution. Petrochemical engineers, particularly those who work for the major oil companies believe that dispersal is the solution to oil pollution.

Get that stuff out of sight as quickly as possible!

The dispersal chemicals, now having been distributed in excess of one million gallons and the oil, now dispersed throughout the gulf will have long term toxic consequences we cannot as yet foresee. Physical removal of the oil from water presents the most certain remedy.

With a bit of sawdust, a man equipped with little more than a shovel can have positive effect.

3 comments:

cbolyard said...

I use sawdust on my shop floor to soak up oil everytime I do an oil change on my vehicles........
Kitty litter works too! Though I doubt you will want to try that one......

Pangolin said...

The really ironic thing is that vast piles of rice straw sit around field in California where they rot for years after being pulled off the fields. Existing infrastructure in the form of silage choppers, chip trucks and bulk rice carriers could have had thousands of tons of the stuff in the Gulf already.

Even better there are plenty of rice fields in Louisiana and Alabama. As has been made clear by the now infamous, Booming 101 video on Youtube the current cleanup efforts are really just theatre pieces to make it look like we're doing something.

We're not.

Doug Stowe said...

Today, BP is making another attempt to cap the well. This time, they are willing to place the gulf at even greater risk, by cutting the crimped pipes, and probably increasing the flow by around 20%. If their attempt to cap the pipe fails, matters will be even worse. You can see that their primary objective isn't to stop the flow of oil, but to get it into ships where they can make money from it. To see their oil despoiling beaches and wetlands is only tragic to them as a sign of lost profits. The booming has been decorative at best.

They have been incredibly irresponsible.