Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Letter to the Editor

We Love Our Bugs: Microbes eat oil

A Call For A Twenty-First-Century Solution In Oil Spill Response

Dear Observer,

Please know: There certainly is a solution to the oil spill scenario and the question that this article poses...

The answer to that problem has been there and utilized by myself and my company in the Florida Keys for over 26 years and before that for over 7 years in New England. We have used live microbes to stop oil and gasoline spills for over 33 years with great environmental success.

I have been a pioneer for the use of microbes in cleaning up the environment. I live and work in the most environmentally sensitive area of the United States so I know what that photograph in your article looks like in real time.

I know this must seem funny that we have been doing this for so long without any fanfare, but it is true. We have also developed blends of live microbes that can return polluted waterways back to their pristine status by balancing the population of bacteria that clean up and can keep on cleaning up the ecosystem in which they are placed.

We have case studies and have won prestigious environmental awards for cleaning up environmental problems with live microbes. One very big award was for a fresh water pond that is on an island that is 125 miles out to sea.

The Blue Hole on Big Pine Key that is owned by the United States Key Deer Refuge was cleaned up in 1986 and is still thriving and balanced today through the use of live microbes. The Blue Hole is a man made pond that is part salt water with a "floating" fresh water lens on top that supports blue gills, turtles and large mouth bass. The pond also has some salt water mangrove snapper swimming around. One treatment of microbes has kept this pond thriving through hurricane surges, high temperatures and several other upsets. The Blue Hole thrives because the microbes that were put into the system over 26 years ago were a blend of "super-bugs" that supported one another as well as the rest of the ecosystem. They have kept a natural balance in this difficult environment.

Microbes are the basic building blocks of an Eco-system.

On several occasions we have prevented gasoline and diesel fuels from entering the open environment by introducing microbes that surrounded and "contained" the spills. Then the microbes broke down and ate the oils and gasoline plumes.

Dispersal is great but containment is better. A trick we use with microbes is the controlling of the surface tension of a subject waterway by hydrolyzing dried live microbes. When the microbes start to hydrolyze (take in water to their cellular bodies) they actually push the oil slick back into a containment situation where mechanical means can be used to draw up the spill and collect it. After that trick - our "bugs" surround and corral the spill and they eat whatever is left - after the mechanical means (skimmers - pads etc..) are  removed.

We love our Bugs and will continue their use as the rest of the environmental community plays catch up to the field people who have seen first hand how well microbes work.

Thank you - Thank you for this article because public education is a priority to cleaning up the Nations waterways. We want to do more harbors and polluted waterways - oil spills are easy work compared to the bigger problems lying in the silts of harbors and boat basins...

Respectfully submitted

John V Larkin
PO box 38
Big Pine Key. Florida 33043
Clean and Green Products and Services LLC
(Formerly ~ Environmental Tactics Inc)
Florida Keys ~ USA

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