by JASON WHITELY
Posted on June 29, 2010 at 11:04 PM
Updated Tuesday, Jun 29 at 11:26 PM
PROSPER — In a large crystal-clear swimming pool, Jon Cleveland poured two quarts of oily red transmission fluid to prove a point.
"It's red in color so you can see the oil easier," Cleveland explained.
He sells a special Canadian-grown peat moss called Bio-Matrix that — Cleveland claims — can absorb all the oily fluid.
Using his own pool is a crazy experiment, but Cleveland's product has received attention in the Gulf.
According to a purchase order Cleveland supplied, BP just spent thousands of dollars buying 1,440 bales of it. The oil giant has 10,000 feet of floating boom packed with Bio-Matrix on order.
"We're not going to make a dent in the water," Cleveland said. His product is aimed instead at the marshes and areas where the boats can't skim the oil off the surface.
One 50-pound bag can absorb enough oil to fill a 50-gallon drum, Cleveland said.
Compared against kitty litter or crushed clay — which is often used to soak up spills — Bio-Matrix appeared to encapsulate it all. Oil still stuck to the outside of the other products.
"It can go right in the landfill," Cleveland said.
He scattered Bio-Matrix on the surface of the water. After a few minutes, Cleveland dragged a net across the water to grab the peat. Squeezing it into a clear glass, no red transmission fluid was visible. The water, slightly brown with tiny particles of the peat, didn't smell, and no oil rose to the top of the glass.
"There's no transmission fluid," Cleveland said. "The brown color comes from the sphagnum peat moss."
He claims it can absorb the transmission fluid in his pool in minutes, but cleaning up the Gulf will take much longer.
BP did not immediately return a call from News 8 regarding how many other alternative cleanup products it has purchased.