One undersea oil plume stretches 50 miles from well; Water nearing levels of acute toxicity

Deep sea plume in Gulf ‘changes concept’ of an oil spill, Palm Beach Post, July 23, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. EDT:

Friday University of South Florida researchers said they confirmed that the invisible plumes they detected in May, 50 miles from the well, near the DeSoto Canyon that ferries nutrient-rich deep-sea water to Florida’s western shore, did indeed come from the BP spill site. …

“The fact that petroleum hydrocarbons can reside in the water column changes the paradigm of what a traditional oil spill is,” which is, usually, confined to the surface”…

USF researchers found oil at about 0.75 parts per million. That’s less than the 1 part per million that’s commonly considered acutely toxic, Hollander said, but he cautioned that exposure time also matters. Some sealife have likely been exposed to those levels of oil for months, potentially making it as damaging as more concentrated oil, he added.

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