Water to be tested for oil from BP spill

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The Independent US

The lingering ecological impact of BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster was highlighted again this weekend when the US Coast Guard said that an area of discoloured water south of New Orleans could be oil from the spill.

Jeff Hall, spokesman for the Unified Area Command, said tests could determine if the suspected oil is from the BP spill, although there also appears to be an algae bloom in the area that may account for some of the discolouration.

The Coast Guard sent two flights over the West Bay area near Venice, Louisiana, on Saturday. Two boats also went out to check the waters. Mr Hall said that tests would be done today on water samples from an area where a marine investigator believes there is an algae bloom near Venice.

The area of discoloured water there was about 2.5 miles long and 300 yards wide. About 10 miles away, Mr Hall said, a crew spotted what appears "some kind of silvery, weathered oil".

Six months after the BP oil spill started, the federal government maintains much of the oil is gone from the Gulf. But independent researchers say they are discovering significant amounts of crude below the sea's surface, including on the ocean floor. They fear the oil that remains could harm species lower down the food chain.

In recent weeks, local fishermen have reported seeing what they said appeared to be miles-long strings of weathered oil on the sea.