BP officials continued the task of putting into place a mammoth white containment dome over a leaking oil well 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico on Friday as environmentalists, fishermen and hoteliers waited to see if the unprecedented effort would contain this region's 17-day-long ecological disaster.
The lowering of the containment device was a slow-moving drama playing out 50 miles from Louisiana's coast, requiring precision and attention to detail. It took about two weeks to build the 40-foot box, and the effort to lower it by crane and cable to the seafloor began late Thursday night. After it hit bottom Friday afternoon, the crane gradually eased off to allow it to settle.
. . . If it works as designed, engineers say the dome, really a 78-ton box with a pyramid on the top, should collect about 85 percent of the estimated 210,000 gallons spewing daily from the well.
If it works as designed, the dome should collect about 85 percent of the estimated 210,000 gallons spewing daily from the well?
That means 15% of the oil will still be leaking - - more than 30,000 gallons per day, over six times the original leak estimate!