New Orleans, La. – NOAA is sending in more aircraft to test pollution levels from samples collected at 200 feet above the surface up to 1,000 feet, where experts believe most of the pollution is trapped. Equipment can detect compounds from the oil itself, which is being treated with chemical dispersants, and smoke from more than 130 controlled burns on the surface. NOAA ships have detected traces of underwater oil in missions to confirm reports of plumes streaking from the leaking oil well. Meantime, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen says he's still not sure how much oil continues to gush into the Gulf. BP's containment-cap system is near its capacity of funneling 15,000 barrels a day to a surface ship, but oil can be seen spewing all around the cap at the seabed.
For NPR News, I'm Eileen Fleming in New Orleans.