September 3 (GreenAnswers Staff) – BP removed the faulty blowout preventer from the Deepwater Horizon well today. The blowout preventer is a 300-ton device that should have stopped oil from gushing out of the well after the explosion. Its failure is one of the major pieces of evidence that officials will be exploring during their continuing investigation of the BP catastrophe.
The removal of the broken blowout preventer will allow BP to lower and attached a new blowout preventer to the well. Once the new blowout preventer is attached, efforts to complete the relief well will follow. The relief well is dug to only feet away from the problem shaft. Once the new blowout preventer is in place, the relief well will be connected to the main shaft and a mixture of cement and mud will be pumped into the well to seal it for good. This process is known as the “bottom kill.”
BP noted on Friday that the bottom kill efforts could be completed by mid-September.
In other developments, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reopened over 3,000 square miles of federal fishing grounds in the Gulf of Mexico to commercial and recreational fishing. “We are pleased to continue moving forward with reopening portions of Gulf federal waters to recreational and commercial fishing,” NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said. “I’d like to thank everyone for their patience throughout this process, as we work to ensure seafood safety remains our primary objective.”
NOAA says the reopening of the fishing waters was done after consulting the Food and Drug Administration to make sure the seafood and water was safe for humans. Currently, only about 17% of federal waters in the Gulf remain closed, which is down from 37% at the height of the spill.