Possible oil on Hancock County shores

Ocean Springs gets BP go-ahead for super boom

By DONNA MELTON – dmelton@sunherald.com

BAY ST. LOUIS

Oil started washing ashore in Hancock County on Saturday, dotting the sand — from the pier at the end of Washington Street in Bay St. Louis to Buccaneer State Park in Waveland — with brown goo.

Tar balls and tar patties were found on the beach during the afternoon patrol, Hancock County Emergency Manager Brian Adam said.

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality is testing the material, but Adam feels confident what he saw was oil.

“What we’re seeing is the same thing that’s over in Long Beach,” he said. “It’s definitely oil patties.”

Adam said the globs are not present in heavy quantities, and range in size from a quarter to a fist.

They are scattered on the beach.

“You might walk 5 feet and find three or four small ones. You might walk 20 or 30 feet before you find another one,” he said.

Patrols were expected to check the beaches again at 2 a.m. today, and Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Teams were to be dispatched to the area this morning.

Adam said the beaches would remain open, but warned people to avoid the oily globs.

All oil-containment boom gates in the St. Louis Bay have been closed, except the main ship channel at the center of the CSX Railroad bridge. There will be designated vessels at the main ship channel that will be checking to ensure any boat entering the bay is free from oil contamination. Contaminated boats will not be allowed in the bay.

Elsewhere along the Mississippi Coast, SCAT crews outnumbered beachcombers Saturday as tar patties and balls continued to roll ashore with the high tide.

Jackson County

Based on aerial surveillance by the Mississippi National Guard and on-the-ground visuals by SCAT workers, MDEQ’s afternoon report shows tar balls along the shoreline of Point aux Chenes east of Pascagoula and possible oil-stained grass south of the Chevron Refinery in Pascagoula. Half-mile-wide streaks of sheen were spotted 5 miles south of Horn Island, with scattered streaks of sheen south of the other barrier islands.

Tar balls and patties were observed at the shoreline on the east end of Cat Island and on the northeast corner of Singing River Island.

Harrison County

Scattered tar balls and patties were also reported on the beach south of DeBuys Road, St. Charles Street, Edgewater Avenue and Rodenberg Avenue in Biloxi and Espy and Lang avenues in Pass Christian.

Harrison County Emergency Manager Rupert Lacy said SCAT crews would be working through the night to clean the beaches.

Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2010/07/03/2307983/possible-oil-on-hancock-county.html#ixzz0siNJh800

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