Stopping the Leak

Since the oil started leaking, BP has been working with many other oil companies, federal agencies, and other scientists and engineers to try to find a way to stop the leak.


Today, the oil leak has been capped, which is promising news. BP and others have also worked to stop the oil from spreading, including using chemical dispersants to break up the oil, burning the oil on the water surface, and using giant booms that look like large mechanical ribbons to contain the oil and keep it from coming ashore. Once oil washes on the shore, it can harm beaches, wetlands, wildlife, and people. Since oil floats, oil booms are one of the key ways BP and others are trying to contain the oil. The booms can be more than 100 feet long and two feet high and serve as giant physical barriers to stop the oil from spreading. Unfortunately, if the wind and waves are too strong, the oil can slosh over the booms. So, although booms help, they can’t completely keep the oil contained.

While it is positive news that the leak has been stopped, the long-term effects of the spill remain. It will be up to all of us to help wildlife and habitat that has been affected.