Oil spill cleanup in the gulf


3 methods to stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico

1. Shut off the leak at the well head: Responders are still trying to figure out new ways to use remotely operated vehicles to try to trigger the blowout preventer. That will go on as the next steps continue.

2. Drill relief wells: BP aims to drill two relief wells a half-mile from the leaking well to stop the flow. That is expected to take 60 to 90 days.

3. Contain oil in underwater chambers: Until the relief wells are working, BP plans to lower three massive containers to the sea floor to catch oil from the open well.The oil would be funneled to the surface through a series of pipes and carted away. This has never been tried in water this deep. The chambers are built, but it will take two to four weeks to fabricate the piping necessary to connect them to the surface.

A robotic arm of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) attempts to activate the Deepwater Horizon blowout preventer (BOP)
Source: U.S. Coast Guard, BP
The Deepwater Horizon rig disaster
tampabay.com photo gallery

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The oil spill began April 20 as a fire burned aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. After the rig exploded and sank, Coast Guard officials announced Sunday that a pipe nearly a mile below the surface appeared to be leaking oil. Efforts to shut it off have failed. | See photos and an interactive graphic on the disaster

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