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2137406 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2013-08-20 18:36:26.0 UTC 2013-08-20T14:36:26.000-04:00 oil-from-bp-spill-was-pushed-onto-shelf-off-tampa-bay-by-underwater published 2013-08-21 16:29:11.0 UTC 2013-08-21T12:29:11.000-04:00 news/environment/water DTI 110686237 The thick globs of BP oil that washed ashore on beaches along Florida's Panhandle in 2010 never reached Tampa Bay, to the relief of hotel owners, restaurateurs, anglers, beachgoers and local officials. But oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill, floating beneath the surface after being sprayed with dispersant, settled on a shelf 80 miles from the Tampa Bay region within a year of the spill's end, according to a scientific study published this week. There is some evidence it may have caused lesions in fish caught in that area, according to John Paul, the University of South Florida oceanography professor who is lead author on the study, published in Environmental Science & Technology. However, research is continuing on that question. Tests of the samples from those areas on bacteria and other microscopic creatures normally found in that part of the gulf found that "organisms in contact with these waters might experience DNA damage that could lead to mutation," the study reported. The oil that landed on the shelf, which extends miles into the gulf, is likely to stay there a long time, Paul said. "Once it's in the sediment, it's kind of immobile," he said. BP spokesman Jason Ryan said scientists working for the company, as well as various government agencies, had "conducted extensive sampling to identify, track and map oil in the water column over time," and found no signs of BP oil on the shelf near the Tampa Bay area. But Paul said the researchers looked for signs of the Deepwater Horizon spill on the shelf based on observations by a colleague, USF oceanographer Bob Weisberg. Weisberg found a major upwelling — a swirling current of cool water from deep in the gulf — had begun in May 2010 and continued through the rest of that year. The upwelling could have caught hold of the underwater plumes of dispersed oil off the Panhandle and then pushed them southward onto the shelf that lies off the state's west coast, he said. "It made its way southeast across the bottom and eventually it gets to the beach," Weisberg said. "A little bit probably got into Tampa Bay, and a little bit probably got into Sarasota Bay, and it exited the Florida shelf down around the Dry Tortugas." When he put forward his theory in 2010, Weisberg called for sampling to be done along the shelf to test whether he was right, but that proposal did not get any funding, he said. Eventually, though, as part of a series of 12 trips into the gulf for their own research, Paul and his colleagues collected samples along the shelf, as well as closer to the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster off Louisiana. They found nothing in 2010, but when they went back in 2011 and 2012, they found what Weisberg had predicted. The oil did not reach the southern end of the shelf until last year. Water samples collected off the shelf were toxic to bacteria, phytoplankton and other small creatures, the report said. The USF discovery shows that scientists continue to grapple with measuring the full impact of the disaster, which began with a fiery explosion aboard an offshore drilling rig on April 20, 2010. The disaster held the nation spellbound for months as BP struggled to stop the oil. To try to break up the oil before vast sheets of it washed ashore on the beaches and marshes along the Gulf Coast, the company sprayed the dispersant Corexit directly at the wellhead spewing oil from the bottom of the gulf — even though no one had ever tried spraying it below the water's surface before. BP also used more of the dispersant than had been used in an oil spill, 1.8 million gallons. The Corexit broke the oil down into small drops, creating underwater plumes of oil, something no one had ever seen before in an oil spill. The discovery of the plumes raised questions about how they would affect sea life in the gulf. Yet even before BP managed to shut off the undersea flow July 15, 2010, observers ranging from Time magazine to Rush Limbaugh said damage from the 4.9 million-barrel spill seemed far less severe than predicted. In the three years since, though, scientists have uncovered ongoing damage — deformed crabs, dying dolphins and other woes. Getting this study published in a peer-reviewed journal was a long process, Paul said. "Publishing anything about the oil spill is inherently more difficult than anything else because it's so contentious," he said. BP agreed last year to pay $4 billion to settle criminal charges, including manslaughter, in connection the disaster, and rig owner Transocean settled civil and criminal charges for $1.4 billion. BP is now locked in a civil court battle with the U.S. Justice Department and hundreds of businesses affected by the spill. If it loses, BP could face damages of $17.5 billion, although company officials have predicted the fines will be less than $5 billion. Craig Pittman can be reached at craig@tampabay.com By Craig Pittman, Times Staff Writer News, Environment, Water, news-nav, top-news, breaking-news Oil from BP spill pushed onto shelf off Tampa Bay by underwater currents, study finds CPITTMANN It's off Florida's coast, it's hurting plankton and bacteria, and it's not going away soon. 4STA Main dhyj3h4p338e dhyj3 Study: Oil still lingers in gulf <p></p><p><b>Lingering damage from BP oil spill</b></p><p>In the three years since the Deepwater Horizon disaster, scientists are still learning about how it affected the Gulf of Mexico. Some of their findings include:</p><p>&#8226; Fish with lesions and immune problems.</p><p>&#8226; Deformed crustaceans. </p><p>&#8226; Dolphins dying from bacterial infection after immune system compromised.</p><p>&#8226; Massive die-off of microscopic foraminifera. </p><p>&#8226; Bacteria producing increased mutations after exposure to oil.</p><p>&#8226; Weathered particles of oil found buried in the sediment in the gulf floor. </p> Florida 1 oilspill082113 Study: Oil still lingers in gulf 2013-08-21 04:00:00.0 UTC 2013-08-21T00:00:00.000-04:00 0 Clean up crews work on Pensacola Beach in July 2010, months after the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. /resources/images/blogs-photo/2013/08/OIL_CLEANUP.jpg Associated Press /resources/images/blogs-photo/rendered/2013/08/OIL_CLEANUP_4col.jpg/resources/images/blogs-photo/rendered/2013/08/OIL_CLEANUP_8col.jpg 1 Oily waves come ashore in Orange Beach, Ala., on June 30, 2010. Heavy seas from Tropical Storm Alex helped push more oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster toward the Florida and Alabama coasts. A recent study shows that oil still remains off the Florida coast, damaging microscopic creatures. /resources/images/dti/2013/08/AP_ALDM101_OILY_WAVES_11348377.jpg Associated Press /resources/images/dti/rendered/2013/08/AP_ALDM101_OILY_WAVES_11348377_4col.jpg/resources/images/dti/rendered/2013/08/AP_ALDM101_OILY_WAVES_11348377_8col.jpg 2 A USF survey of the gulf found that fish, including tilefish like this one, were more likely to have lesions closer to the spill. /resources/images/dti/2013/08/a4s_oilspill082113_11348387.jpg Courtesy of Steve Murawski (2012) /resources/images/dti/rendered/2013/08/a4s_oilspill082113_11348387_4col.jpg/resources/images/dti/rendered/2013/08/a4s_oilspill082113_11348387_8col.jpg Deepwater Horizon, BP, oil spill, Florida, USF true templatedata/tampabaytimes/StaffArticle/data/2013/08/20/110686237-oil-from-bp-spill-was-pushed-onto-shelf-off-tampa-bay-by-underwater StaffArticle news,environmentEnvironmental NewsThe thick globs of BP oil that washed ashore on beaches along Florida's Panhandle in 2010 never reached Tampa Bay, to the relief of hotel owners, restaurateurs, anglers, beachgoers and local officials.Deepwater Horizon, BP, oil spill, Florida, USFCraig Pittman 381007 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2012-10-25 12:33:04.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:33:04.000-04:00 craig-pittman published Craig Pittman <p><i>Tampa Bay Times</i> reporter Craig Pittman is a native Floridian. He graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where his muckraking work for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label him "the most destructive force on campus." Since then he has covered a variety of newspaper beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. Since 1998 he has reported on environmental issues for the <i>Times</i>. He is a four-time winner of the <a href=" http://masscom.usf.edu/services/waldo/">Waldo Proffitt Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism in Florida</a> and <a href=" http://www.sptimes.com/2005/webspecials05/wetlands/">a series of stories on Florida's vanishing wetlands</a> that he wrote with Matthew Waite won the top investigative reporting award in both 2006 and 2007 from the Society of Environmental Journalists. He is the author of four books: <a href=" http://www.amazon.com/Scent-Scandal-Betrayal-Beautiful-Florida/dp/0813039746"> "The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid"</a> (2012); <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Manatee-Insanity-Floridas-Endangered-Species/dp/0813034620/ref=la_B001JS8EZU_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1352503712&sr=1-2">"Manatee Insanity: Inside the War Over Florida's Most Famous Endangered Species,"</a> (2010); and, co-written with Waite, <a href=" http://www.amazon.com/Paving-Paradise-Floridas-Vanishing-Wetlands/dp/0813032865">"Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss,"</a> (2009). His new book, < a href="http://www.amazon.com/Oh-Florida-Americas-Weirdest-Influences-ebook/dp/B019CB3UNQ"> "Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country,"</a>hits stores in July 2016. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and two children.</p> Times Staff Writer writers DTI 33745076 Tampa Bay Times reporter Craig Pittman is a native Floridian. He graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where his muckraking work for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label him "the most destructive force on campus." Since then he has covered a variety of newspaper beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. Since 1998 he has reported on environmental issues for the Times. He is a four-time winner of the Waldo Proffitt Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism in Florida and a series of stories on Florida's vanishing wetlands that he wrote with Matthew Waite won the top investigative reporting award in both 2006 and 2007 from the Society of Environmental Journalists. He is the author of four books: "The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid" (2012); "Manatee Insanity: Inside the War Over Florida's Most Famous Endangered Species," (2010); and, co-written with Waite, "Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss," (2009). His new book, "Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country,"hits stores in July 2016. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and two children. <p>Phone: (727) 893-8530</p><p>Email: <a href="mailto:craig@tampabay.com ">craig@tampabay.com</a> </p><p>Twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/craigtimes">@CraigTimes</a></p> 1 WEB ONLY -- don't use for print. Times staffer Craig Pittman sig shot. /resources/images/dti/2016/03/Pittman_Craig_16811038.jpg true templatedata/tampabaytimes/AuthorProfile/data/33745076-craig-pittman AuthorProfile 2012-10-25 12:33:04.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:33:04.000-04:00 <span style="display:none;" class="author vcard"><span class="fn">CRAIG PITTMAN</span></span><span style="display:none;" class="source-org vcard"><span class="org fn">Tampa Bay Times</span></span><a rel="item-license" href="/universal/user_agreement.shtml">&#169; 2016 Tampa Bay Times</a><br /><br />Times Staff Writer 2272974 2016-04-13 00:35:42.0 UTC 4 Months Ago hundreds-of-baby-dolphin-deaths-tied-to-bps-deepwater-horizon-oil-spill news/environment/water Hundreds of baby dolphin deaths tied to BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill StaffArticle 2279529 2016-05-30 14:31:43.0 UTC 3 Months Ago uncharted-waters-restoring-the-deep-gulf-of-mexico-fouled-by-bps-deepwater news/environment/water Uncharted waters: Restoring the deep Gulf of Mexico fouled by BP's Deepwater Horizon spill StaffArticle 2280058 2016-06-02 20:36:53.0 UTC 3 Months Ago tampa-to-study-toilet-to-tap-water-project news/environment/water Tampa to study 'toilet-to-tap' water project StaffArticle <p>The thick globs of BP oil that washed ashore on beaches along Florida's Panhandle in 2010 never reached Tampa Bay, to the relief of hotel owners, restaurateurs, anglers, beachgoers and local officials.</p> <p>But oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill, floating beneath the surface after being sprayed with dispersant, settled on a shelf 80 miles from the Tampa Bay region within a year of the spill's end, according to a scientific study published this week. </p> <p>There is some evidence it may have caused lesions in fish caught in that area, according to John Paul, the University of South Florida oceanography professor who is lead author on the study, published in <i>Environmental Science </i><i>&amp; Technology</i>. However, research is continuing on that question.</p> <p>Tests of the samples from those areas on bacteria and other microscopic creatures normally found in that part of the gulf found that &quot;organisms in contact with these waters might experience DNA damage that could lead to mutation,&quot; the study reported. </p> <p>The oil that landed on the shelf, which extends miles into the gulf, is likely to stay there a long time, Paul said. </p> <p>&quot;Once it's in the sediment, it's kind of immobile,&quot; he said. </p> <p>BP spokesman Jason Ryan said scientists working for the company, as well as various government agencies, had &quot;conducted extensive sampling to identify, track and map oil in the water column over time,&quot; and found no signs of BP oil on the shelf near the Tampa Bay area.</p> <p>But Paul said the researchers looked for signs of the Deepwater Horizon spill on the shelf based on observations by a colleague, USF oceanographer Bob Weisberg. </p> <p>Weisberg found a major upwelling — a swirling current of cool water from deep in the gulf — had begun in May 2010 and continued through the rest of that year. The upwelling could have caught hold of the underwater plumes of dispersed oil off the Panhandle and then pushed them southward onto the shelf that lies off the state's west coast, he said.</p> <p>&quot;It made its way southeast across the bottom and eventually it gets to the beach,&quot; Weisberg said. &quot;A little bit probably got into Tampa Bay, and a little bit probably got into Sarasota Bay, and it exited the Florida shelf down around the Dry Tortugas.&quot;</p> <p>When he put forward his theory in 2010, Weisberg called for sampling to be done along the shelf to test whether he was right, but that proposal did not get any funding, he said. </p> <p>Eventually, though, as part of a series of 12 trips into the gulf for their own research, Paul and his colleagues collected samples along the shelf, as well as closer to the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster off Louisiana. </p> <p>They found nothing in 2010, but when they went back in 2011 and 2012, they found what Weisberg had predicted. The oil did not reach the southern end of the shelf until last year. Water samples collected off the shelf were toxic to bacteria, phytoplankton and other small creatures, the report said.</p> <p>The USF discovery shows that scientists continue to grapple with measuring the full impact of the disaster, which began with a fiery explosion aboard an offshore drilling rig on April 20, 2010.</p> <p>The disaster held the nation spellbound for months as BP struggled to stop the oil. To try to break up the oil before vast sheets of it washed ashore on the beaches and marshes along the Gulf Coast, the company sprayed the dispersant Corexit directly at the wellhead spewing oil from the bottom of the gulf — even though no one had ever tried spraying it below the water's surface before. BP also used more of the dispersant than had been used in an oil spill, 1.8 million gallons.</p> <p>The Corexit broke the oil down into small drops, creating underwater plumes of oil, something no one had ever seen before in an oil spill. The discovery of the plumes raised questions about how they would affect sea life in the gulf.</p> <p>Yet even before BP managed to shut off the undersea flow July 15, 2010, observers ranging from <i>Time</i> magazine to Rush Limbaugh said damage from the 4.9 million-barrel spill seemed far less severe than predicted. In the three years since, though, scientists have uncovered ongoing damage — deformed crabs, dying dolphins and other woes.</p> <p>Getting this study published in a peer-reviewed journal was a long process, Paul said. </p> <p>&quot;Publishing anything about the oil spill is inherently more difficult than anything else because it's so contentious,&quot; he said.</p> <p>BP agreed last year to pay $4&nbsp;billion to settle criminal charges, including manslaughter, in connection the disaster, and rig owner Transocean settled civil and criminal charges for $1.4&nbsp;billion.</p> <p>BP is now locked in a civil court battle with the U.S. Justice Department and hundreds of businesses affected by the spill. If it loses, BP could face damages of $17.5&nbsp;billion, although company officials have predicted the fines will be less than $5&nbsp;billion.</p> <p><i>Craig Pittman can be reached </i><i>at craig@tampabay.com</i></p>trueruntime2016-08-30 05:59:01