The Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill

By Rylan Russell

What is the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill and How Did It Impact the Water?

Began on the 20th of April, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico. It claimed eleven lives and is considered the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. The US Government estimated the total discharge at 4.9 million barrels. After several failed efforts to contain the flow, the well was declared sealed on the 19th of September 2010. This affected the water by polluting it. Due to the months-long spill, along with adverse effects from the response and cleanup activities, extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats and fishing and tourism industries were reported.

How did this affect the land?

In 2012, tar balls continued to wash up along the Gulf coast and in 2013, tar balls could still be found in on the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts, along with oil sheens in marshes and signs of severe erosion of coastal islands, brought about the death of trees and marsh grass from exposure to the oil.

How are these related?

The Deep Water Horizon oil spill affected the land and water because it killed marine life in the water and killed plant life on the beaches.

What did we do about this?

On the 30th of April 2010, President Barack Obama ordered the federal government to hold the issuing of new offshore drilling leases and authorized investigation of 29 oil rigs in the Gulf in an effort to determine the cause of the disaster.Later a six-month offshore drilling (below 500 feet of water) moratorium (temporary ban) was enforced by the United States Department of the Interior. The moratorium suspended work on 33 rigs. On the 22nd of June, a United States federal judge lifted the moratorium finding it too broad, unreasonable and not adequately justified. The ban was lifted in October 2010. I think if we monitor the oil rigs more closely and make mandatory checks of the oil rigs, we will have a less likely chance of an epidemic like this happening again anywhere else on the globe.


  1. When was the Deep Water Horizon oil spill well declared sealed?
  2. Did the Deep Water Horizon oil spill negatively effect the land and water? If so, what were the most devestating effects to the environment?