On April 20, 2010, there was an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the coast of Louisiana. The blast killed 11 workers. The $560 million rig sank after burning for 36 hours. On April 22, a large oil slick had formed around the site of the former platform, and by April 26, just four days later, the slick had grown to 1,800 square miles. That’s bigger than the state of Rhode Island.
It’s almost hard to wrap your mind around that much oil. At one point, the spill was growing by 210,000 gallons each day. This is the largest offshore spill in U.S. history.
One thing is certain: it’s going to take a lot of work to recover.
Over 400 species of wildlife are threatened by the oil spill. Environmentalists say the effects of the spill on the surrounding ecosystem could go on for years.
Recovery efforts are underway. Thousands of workers and volunteers are involved in the cleanup. Many people are helping wildlife, investigating ways to clean up the waters, and helping unemployed workers in the affected areas.
Obviously, there are many lessons to be learned from an environmental disaster of this size. How can we stop this from happening again? Oil industry workers need to find ways to improve safety. Alternative energy researchers are investigating ways to reduce our dependence on oil.
We’ve profiled some of the jobs involved in the cleanup and recovery. Take a look around to learn about the workers helping the Gulf deal with the impact of the oil spill.