Local geologist proposes using bacteria to eat oil spill

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Data pix.

SAN DIEGO -- As the clean up enters another day on the beaches of Santa Barbara, a San Diego scientist is one of many experts pushing for a unique way of eliminating the mess.

From above it’s still a disheartening scene. From the ground pictures show the daunting clean up of the more than 100,000 gallons of oil spilled.

Workers are shoveling as much of the oil as they can which gushed out along a 9-mile stretch of Santa Barbara beaches. They’re putting the stained sand in bags to be disposed. Still a concern is the rocks and animals that have been affected which will require special attention.

“We need to find a measured response,” said San Diego geologist Pat Abbott.

Abbott is pushing for the use of bacteria to get rid of the oil. It’s a process known as bioremediation.

“It can do a better job in cleaning it up than the chemicals can and there’s no residual harm,” said Abbott.

It’s a method that’s been used before to help clear up the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill in gulf. But it hasn’t proved popular mainly because it’s a relatively slow process.

“It could take even as much as a few years,” said Abbott.

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