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Q&A: BP testing Kevin Costner's device to clean oil from water

BP tests Costner cleaning device

Has BP tested Kevin Costner's vacuum system yet and what was the outcome? I haven't seen anything on it for a couple of weeks and BP was going to test it a couple of weeks ago.

BP agreed last month to test devices promoted by Kevin Costner that essentially would vacuum up the oil.

Costner's company, Ocean Therapy Solutions, has been testing the machines onshore using samples provided by BP, according to CEO John Houghtaling. The company has been outfitting the machines to prepare them to handle the deep waters of the gulf, and testing of the equipment on the water began this month.

Costner has invested more than $24 million to develop centrifuge devices designed to clean water polluted by oil. Houghtaling, his business partner, says the devices are capable of cleaning up to 200 gallons of water per minute, or 210,000 gallons per day, by separating the oil and storing it in tanks.

BP fines will go to U.S. Treasury

The media is reporting the EPA is going to levy a fine on BP each day until the gulf oil spill is corrected. Fines like this are not new, so where does the money acquired from these penalties go? And how much did the EPA collect in penalties last year, or the latest year the information is available?

The Environmental Protection Agency has not yet fined BP for the gulf oil spill — details of possible penalties will be worked out later. The fine will likely be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and may be much more, depending on how much oil ends up being spilled.

If there is a fine, the money will go into the U.S. Treasury, the general pot of money used to run the federal government.

The most recent figure the EPA has for collected fines comes from the 2009 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, 2009. During that year, $90.1 million in civil penalties were collected.

Some recovered oil usable

Does the oil collected from oil spills like the one in the Gulf of Mexico get recycled?

Yes, there is use for some of the recovered oil. Doug Helton of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Michael O'Brien of the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited shared the details recently with

The purest oil — skimmed from the top of the water — can be sent to refineries and processed to be used in furnaces, cars and manufacturing milk jugs, reported. Oil that is too salty or contaminated with small particles can help power brick kilns or incinerators.

The oil that comes up on shore can be combined with quicklime, a chemical compound, and turned into pavement, the experts said.

Q&A: BP testing Kevin Costner's device to clean oil from water 06/13/10 [Last modified: Sunday, June 13, 2010 10:45pm]
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