Joe the Plumber helped plug that damned hole

He’s a different Joe the Plumber, yet another average Joe, but it’s his design of a containment cap that is said to have been used by BP to finally stop the leak:


The identity of the “mystery plumber” whose homemade design for a new containment cap may have helped to finally stanch the Gulf oil spill geyser emerged Saturday.

His name is Joe Caldart, a married, 40-something blue-collar guy with five kids and three hound dogs living in St. Francis, Kan. Mr. Caldart has 907 Facebook friends. He likes the band Rednecks & Red Dirt, watches “Family Guy,” and cites the 1978 Burt Reynolds flick “Hooper” as one of his favorites.

As to his decision to go public, Caldart says in an interview with the Monitor, “My wife was, like, ‘This is kind of scary, I don’t know if you should [go public],’ and I said, ‘Yeah and no.’ But I also felt like people should know that here an average guy submitted something that maybe helped.”

Caldart’s sketches, routed six weeks ago to BP and the Coast Guard through University of California petroleum engineer Robert Bea, are a near identical match to the design of a new containment cap lowered last week over the renegade Macondo well 50 miles off Venice, La.

“The idea was using the top flange on the blowout preventer as an attachment point and then employing an internal seal against that flange surface,” says Dr. Bea. “You can kind of see how a plumber thinks this way. That’s how they have to plumb homes for sewage.”

The current design is “a steel cap, and underneath it is the internal plug and on top of that is a piston and the flow tube in the middle, and coming down the left side is the warm water inlet tube,” says Caldart. “I made that sketch on May 25th.”

Pretty awesome news… and rather symbolic.  Remember Obama’s words?

Because there has never been a leak this size at this depth, stopping it has tested the limits of human technology. That’s why just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge — a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation’s Secretary of Energy. Scientists at our national labs and experts from academia and other oil companies have also provided ideas and advice.

As a result of these efforts, we’ve directed BP to mobilize additional equipment and technology. And in the coming weeks and days, these efforts should capture up to 90 percent of the oil leaking out of the well. This is until the company finishes drilling a relief well later in the summer that’s expected to stop the leak completely.

That was a month ago… and today we learn a plumber may be the guy responsible for actually stopping the leak.

There’s a lesson there folks. 

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