Heartland man offers BP solution to contain oil spill - but gets frustration in return

By Lauren Keith - bio | email

JACKSON, MO  (KFVS) -As those of us here in the Heartland sit and watch the latest developments in the Gulf, there's at least one local man who's trying to do something about it. Ron Wahlers has been contacting BP almost daily with his solutions and even uploading videos to demonstrate.

"Pretty much all my life, I've had to trouble shoot problems, fix things, even on the farm."

Wahlers is a former engineer at Proctor and Gamble and what you'd call a "self-made" man. he started up a simple tool business some 30 years ago, and turned it into a multi-million dollar company. Wahlco D.W. Tool offers many services, among them recycling of irrigation tubing.

"We use a lot of pumps."

Making Ron know a thing or two about what's going on with the pumping in that gushing BP oil well. He's afraid his ideas to contain it are being shredded and tossed aside, much like the tubing he recycles at his business everyday.

"I've tried everything."

Ron and his secretarial staff send daily emails to "big-wigs" at BP. He's also contacted government officials in Louisiana and even other oil companies BP competes with.

"Never could get through to anybody."

That didn't stop him.  Ron continues uploading video to YouTube and trying to get through to BP with his solution.

"It is real simple. I cannot imagine why they haven't done this. They try to contain it some 40 miles away. It's too late. The beach contains it."

So, Ron threw on a wet suit and even demonstrated his idea in a YouTube clip. Basically, Ron says BP isn't using a large enough pipe to contain the leak. He also says they're not capping it in the right spot. He believes with the right amount of tubes and piping, you could get that oil capped and siphoned into super tankers on the surface, just like his video shows.

"All you gotta do is guide it right to the surface and just stick a big pump in it. It pumps 5, 6 to 20,000 gallons a minute. Pump that into a super tanker."

Ron admits his plan is simple and he's flabbergasted BP hasn't used it yet.

"I think they are so focused on the little pipe to try and suck that up. When you're sucking through a 5,000 ft. pipe, now you have to deal with friction and pressure. It's difficult to do."

The engineer says his plan gets around that. Recently, Ron did talk to an actual person on the other end of the phone at BP.

"He says that's a good idea. He said I'm just one floor down from engineering. I'll take that idea up there and tell 'em."

Ron never heard back from anyone or saw his idea played out on his TV screen at home as he watches the oil disaster.

"He probably hung up the phone."

With each hang-up, Ron keeps uploading more video and even brainstorming more ideas he can suggest.

"It's so frustrating when obviously, I think I have the solution. Nobody wants to listen."

Ron's uploaded three videos to YouTube so far with three different plans. He did get a response from the Louisiana governor's office but says it was the typical letter acknowledging they'd received his correspondence, and that's about it. The same happened with BP once again.

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