Tuesday, July 27, 2010

100 Dime-Size Tar Balls Wash Ashore On Beach East of Pensacola

Article via the Sun Sentinel.

"While oily water seeped its way into Pensacola's waterways, the beachside counties to the east have been spared from the worst of the oil plumes from the Gulf, but the currents have started bringing more of the goopy mess toward Navarre Beach and Destin.

On Wednesday, nearly 100 dime- to quarter-size tar balls washed ashore on a stretch of beach on Okaloosa Island, on the outskirts of Destin.

It's the largest sighting to date in Okaloosa County, about 40 miles east of Pensacola. For the past week, there have been occasional sightings of small tar balls speckling the white beaches, but never more than a dozen at a time.

Streams of brown and rusty red oil sheen dotted with floating tar patties could be seen from atop the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier on Wednesday. Locals and tourists continued to fish along the quarter-mile long pier, though not much was biting.

"We were out here yesterday and my dad's probably the only person who caught a fish," said Will McCrory, 19, as he held his fishing rod over the wooden pier.

"Today there's been no action," said McCrory, a resident of the nearby town of Niceville. "This is just a disaster. I didn't think it would reach here this fast; it's like summer's been ruined."

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is advising that areas "near and west of Panama City may experience shoreline impacts by Friday."

Along Navarre Beach there have been more than 20 confirmed tar ball sightings, and there have been reports of oil sheen spotted along the county's Santa Rosa Sound, which connects to Pensacola Bay.

On Monday, two 5,000-pound metal marine storage tanks believed to be from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig were hauled off Miramar Beach in Walton County, and Panama City Beach in Bay County — the latter more than 300 miles east of the site of the explosion.

The two holding tanks had green and white placards with the BP logo and the term "HORIZ" printed outside, said Mike Gurspan, spokesman for the Walton County Sheriff's Department. The tanks were hauled off to New Orleans, where the oil rig investigation is taking place."


Post a Comment