Coast Guard Chemists Help Investigate Gulf Oil Spill


Chemists at the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Lab in New London are helping out with the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

The lab received a 4-ounce glass jar of some of the oil in an overnight delivery and it's one of hundreds of samples the lab hopes to test here eventually, the Day of New London reports.

"We're providing the chemical match and the on-scene investigators say how it could be," Dr. Wayne R. Gronlund, manager of the lab, told the paper.

The goal is to analyze the chemical composition of the oil and help provide clues as to who was ultimately responsible for the leak.

 "We can't say whose fault it is. All we say is that the oil that was in the water derived from the same source as the oil that was in the well," Gronlund added.

The spill was triggered by an explosion on April 20 off the Louisiana coast that sank an oil rig operated by BP. On Thursday, crews were hoping that a dome would contain most of the oil, MSNBC reports.

The lab, specifically located in Fort Trumbull, provides forensic support to the Coast Guard and “other government agencies looking to enforce, prosecute and collect fines for the violation of oil spill laws,” reports the Day.

The 10 people who work there sure have their hands full. Each year, they perform analysis on about 200 cases. They still have samples of the most high profile cases in American history so far, Exxon Valdez spill which happened 21 years ago.

"It's a dirty business," Gronlund told the newspaper, "but somebody's got to do it, and we think we're pretty good at it."

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