BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Memorial Day marked day 42 of the coastal crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, but one Louisiana man claims his solution to clean up the mess is very close to being approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Coast Guard officials said they are looking seriously at the product and hope to make a decision soon.
Kevin Barbier of Denham Springs works for a company called IND-TEK Solutions. He sells a product called the Oil Spill Eater. It is made by Oil Spill Eater International, which is based in Dallas, Texas. For a month, he has been trying to grab the federal government's attention.
He had what he describes as a "productive" meeting with Coast Guard officials in Houma Saturday. Barbier said his product breaks down the oil and creates natural bacteria to eat it, leaving no dangerous chemicals behind.
"We've cleaned over 14,000 spills in 21 years," Barbier said. "We went through our product. We say, 'Hey, this is what we do. This is why we're different from what they're using now, which is a dispersant.'"
The dispersant used temporarily to break up the oil is called Corexit. The Environmental Protection Agency even says Corexit is very toxic. Though the chemical dispersant is used miles offshore, Barbier says his Oil Spill Eater is a much safer alternative.
This product is not new. Records show The U.S. Navy in Belle Chase used it in 1995. A year later, the EPA pre-approved it for oil spill treatment. It isn't even new to BP. The company used it less than 10 years ago to clean a spill in Trinidad and Tobago.
Barbier said the problem is that his product is one of thousands, but he remains confident the Coast Guard will begin using the Oil Spill Eater soon.