Friday, June 17, 2011

Gulf Filtering

Eco-Tec Adsorb-it Filtration Fabric

~ Lost in the many depressing stories about the devastation of the Gulf of Mexico is one bright highlight: the use of a unique fabric product that had singular success in mopping up slicks before they could foul shorelines and wetlands.

Eco-Tec's Jerry Brownstein presents Herb Pearse an award recognizing his work on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill clean-up
Jerry Brownstein and Herb Pearse of Eco-Tec
The product line from local company Eco-Tec filters water, removing oil, oil sheen, oil-brorne contaminants and suspended solids.

The filtration fabric is made entirely from waste products, is at least somewhat resuable and can ultimately be burned as fuel after it is done cleaning the environment of noxious messes like that from the BP Deepwater Horizon fiasco.

At today's Growing Cleantech Businesses conference Eco-Tec's Herb Pearse described how they were able to effectively clean oil from the water, protecting miles of shoreline. He also expresed frustration that they were not afforded the chance to continue the work.

They deployed enormous amounts of the fabric, but when BP elected to apply vast quantities of the dispersant Corexit, the oil that was on the surface broke up and sank. The result, observed Herb, was an "out of sight out of mind" result—suddenly many thought (or chose to think) the clean-up complete. There was no longer much measurable oil contamination, not because the contamination was gone, but because it was moved to the bottom. BP declared the problem solved. The fabric fence along the shore was increasingly seen as a now-unneeded eyesore, and torn down.

We may no longer see it, said Herb, but "the Gulf of Mexico is still contaminated." Indeed, wasted more so than could have been.

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