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-- well now back to the clean up in the gulf and to continue to question of how to not only clean up the oil but what we do with all the oil that we have already recaptured.
Rust you know is professor of chemistry and environmental engineering at the University of Texas El Paso you to.
He's also one of the lead scientist to help clean up the Exxon Valdez spill.
In 1989 -- and professor thank you very much for joining us I -- -- first ask about nature.
Not minimizing the spill by any means but we do know that oil is -- naturally occurring substance in the oceans -- -- of the world.
How much will nature.
Help the cleanup process and how Long Will -- take.
Well I think you have to look at the history here and there -- several points that I would make when you do look at the history.
-- recent Woods Hole study said did in -- point which is Santa Barbara.
Over the years something like eighty Exxon Valdez were naturally released.
Into the area there.
So oil in in -- C is quite natural we don't know enough about its chemistry we.
Should be studying it more but we do know that is degrade in large parts of it degraded.
By naturally occurring organisms.
The other thing I would say -- is that in this particular case we have to look at the Yates thought blowout in 1979.
Which was certainly had -- size approximately of the one that's occurring now that lasted for nine months until they drill relief wells.
And yet only about less than 2% of that oil ever reached any beach again because of these processes that are occurring out there naturally.
In the Gulf of Mexico.
-- your friend of that massive oil well explosion in 1979.
Off the coast of Mexico the its stock disaster.
Which nine months I mean we can only hope that this does not go on for nine months.
But how Long Will it take your natural processes to -- you know we've shown video of oil just goofed up in the by -- Are we talking months years for for nature to take its course and clean it up.
Well again I think if you look back at various histories here there's several answers that.
In the case -- the -- -- blow out these scientists from Mexico that study did.
We're rather surprised that the shrimping industry had come back to normally after about two years.
Again it's very natural in the ocean and and these things will recover.
That's not to minimize some consequences but again you really need to look back at what we know happened in the past.
The other point I would make is that.
Is a big difference between fresh oil hitting the beach as happened in Valdez.
And oil that's been added to see for a while which has been nice disparities have been used done.
That's what we call -- And Moses partially degraded oil which is you know about half -- -- half water half degraded oil.
That's pretty much where it's showing up on the beaches.
Now right now.
And that is a little bit easier to handle then that -- well.
-- you -- fresh oil on the beach as happened in.
In Valdez and other oil -- you know the photo degradation of it really causes it to turn into -- which is very difficult to remove.
So I think it's important again looking at the history here.
That we make some distinctions about oil that's hitting the beaches.
That has been out at sea for some time now being by degraded it has been you.
It was dispersants is -- and and fresh oil that it's the beach.
What are we gonna do with the oil that we have collected off the water.
Well I think that began mostly what's collected -- I I don't know we we need to do some analysis on it but.
It depends if it's -- as I said.
It's not something and is gonna have to be disposed of in some way.
It's fresh oil then you know naturally when a tanker comes in a lot of times they would just separate this old order and -- into the refinery.
But it depends I I suspected as I said most of the -- -- coming out there is in the form -- moves but we do need more information about what the chemistry is.
-- -- -- a professor of chemistry and environmental engineering you -- professor thank you very much for joining us much.
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