Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
March 24, 1989
How many gallons were spilled?!
Over 11 million gallons of crude oil was spilled in Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska. With all of that oil, over 250,000 seabirds, 2,800 sea otters, 300 seals, and 22 killer whales were found dead. It has been almost 30 years since the incident and the ecosystem at Bligh Reef is still trying to recover. Scientist have concluded that many species like bald eagles and salmon have rebounded but killer whales and sea otters have not yet.
How does oil get into the oceans?
Oil usually gets into the water from three ways, Natural seeps, Cars and other land vehicles, and Boats carrying oil. Natural seeps occur when the oil is lighter than water and float to the top because of highly pressurized seafloor rock. Off Santa Barbara, California about 25 tons of oil flows to the top from the worlds largest seeps. the next major problem is from vehicles. Vehicles daily leak oil onto the roads daily and rainstorms flush all of the oil into local waterways or the ocean. The worst of all is when cargo boats full of oil spills into the oceans and ruins the life of marine life. When a large cargo boats hits a rock, reef, or iceberg almost all of the oil that was being carried on the boat is being flushed straight into the sea. There have been countless of major oil spills across the globe like the Deep water Horizon or the Gulf of Mexico spill. All these spills have one thing in common, millions of animals are dying because of a man made problem. Something needs to be done or the majority of marine life could go extinct.
The bright side is that there are ways to remediate oil spills
Floating plastic walls can contain oil spills while the oil is sucked off the surface of the water by large scale vacuums. The cleaners have to react quickly before the oil can reach the shorelines. The second approach is to apply a chemical that can break down the oil and help contain it. There have been known problems with the chemical hurting marine life. The last approach is a rare bacterium that fees of oils. This bacterial is found near natural oil seeps and scientists are trying to develop copies of the bacteria for their use. This approach could be the best Eco friendly oil remediate that will help minimize oil spills.