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Gulf oil spill cleanup efforts

By: Catie Leary on June 14, 2010, 1:57 p.m.
One ton tar blob

Photo: Petty Officer 3rd Class John Walker, USCG

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Cleaning up the mess

The task of cleaning up the Gulf oil spill is no small task. Thousands of specialists and trained volunteers have descended on the Gulf of Mexico to make a dent in this generation's worst environmental disaster.

This 1-ton mass of tarball material sums up the enormity of the problem. The giant blob was presented on June 11 by the crew of the Sailfish, a Vessels of Opportunity boat contracted by BP to assist in the largest oil spill response in U.S. history. Lisa Novak, a civilian employee of the Coast Guard, clarified on Monday that the tarball was not found intact, as initially believed. It is an aggregation of material. A press release from the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command, "Innovation Improves Tar Ball Removal Capability," describes the process.