North Texas firm provides peat moss product for Gulf oil cleanup

by JASON WHITELY WFAA 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.

Local Company Sends Oil Soaking Material To Gulf

Local Company Sends Oil Soaking Material To Gulf

Posted: 4:11 pm EDT June 22, 2010Updated: 12:10 pm EDT June 23, 2010

VILLA RICA, Ga. -- A Georgia distributor sent 12,000 pounds of special peat moss to the Gulf Coast to help with the oil spill. Advanced Environmental Solutions in Villa Rica told Channel 2’s Carol Sbarge the material will absorb oil in water or on land. Company spokesperson Julius Parrish told Sbarge he had tried for weeks to get a product called Bio Matrix used by clean up crews in the Gulf. Regular peat moss would absorb water, but this product is heat treated and actually repels water, according to Parrish. “It will repel water but it will absorb and hold oil in its cells and will not let it leak back out. From that point it will break the oil down into harmless components,” said Parrish.

The product isn't going to help stop the leak, said Parrish, but he was excited to finally be part of the cleanup. “As far as we're concerned, we would have liked to have seen them start earlier using the product to keep it from doing the damage it's already done,” said Parrish.

WTSP news in Clearwater, FL talking about Bio-Matrix usage for the BP oil spill cleanup
Video from WTSP news in Clearwater, FL talking about Bio-Matrix usage for the BP oil spill cleanup:

Clearwater, Florida--Ron Mowrey says he's got the solution to clean up the oil: dried peat moss roots. His company, which sells the all natural product called Bio-Matrix, has reached out to BP officials with no response. "Being that we're residents in Florida and work in Florida, we really want to protect the environment. We're a little frustrated that BP and the federal government have not recognized some of these products to use, especially as it nears land," said Mowrey. While it seems the solutions have fallen on deaf ears, BP tells 10 Connects it is listening.

Since the beginning of what has now grown to the nation's worst environmental disaster, BP says it has been collecting ideas from the public on how to clean it up or stop it.

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