U of L Professor Consulting On Oil Spill Cleanup

By Rick Howlett

A University of Louisville biologist has been advising consultants for BP and others who are helping coordinate the massive oil cleanup effort in the Gulf of Mexico.

Dr. Ronald Atlas was heavily involved in the cleanup of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, and developed a fertilizer that speeds up the biological breakdown of oil.

Atlas says he will likely have a more hands-on involvement in the gulf cleanup as the leak is contained and more oil finds its way to shorelines.

“I expect that in the near future, I’ll be in direct contact (with BP), but they have certainly been hearing what I say, they’re certainly aware of bio-remediation,” he said.

Atlas says its difficult to pinpoint exactly how many years it will take to clean up the gulf. He says that’s dependent on how much oil moves inland, how much is collected, how much is carried away and breaks down naturally.