A Dallas company demonstrates oil eating microbes - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

A Dallas company demonstrates oil eating microbes


By Elizabeth Vowell – email

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Young crabs, fish and cranes were wading through oil patties and brown marsh grasses in Waveland, early Wednesday morning. However, by 11:30 a.m. things had changed thanks to a product out of Texas.

"When you put the product on oil, the first thing it does is it starts breaking down the oil into particles," said Steven Pedigo, CEO of Oil Spill Eater International.

Pedigo and his contractors demonstrated how their OSE II product uses enzymes to break oil down into carbon dioxide and water. 

Within 15 minutes of spraying the product in the Waveland marshes, you could see the tar patties and foam break up into a sheen. Pedigo says, from their mother nature takes over with natural bacteria and microbes. 

 "They just literally eat it up and digest the carbon dioxide and water," explained Pedigo. "The oil won't stick to anything. If a bird dives into that broken down oil, it won't stick to them."

Pedigo says he developed the product to clean up tanning oil in swimming pools in the late 1980s. The product was registered with the EPA in the early 1990s and has helped clean up 14,000 oil spills around the world. 

Wednesday's demonstration was to show the EPA and the State DEQ what this product could do. 

"Mother nature's been out there for millions of years and has bacteria and microbes that are adapted for breaking down oil, and they will break it down on their own. This product supposedly speeds it up, but we just need to look at it and see what the down sides are," said MS DEQ representative Henry Folmar.

The company says the biggest advantage to this product is that it's non-toxic. The workers handle it with their bare hands and a few have even taken a sip just to prove its safety. 

"You can wash your hands in it. You can ingest small amounts of it, it doesn't do any harm to the responders," said Pedigo.

DEQ says this bio-remediation product is a definite clean up possibility. However, it will do more testing for the pros and cons.

"We're going to section off places they're treating. We're going to come back and look at the effectiveness of the product in a localized, natural environment, and look at it to see if we see any downsides," said Folmar.

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