BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - A Pass Christian couple claim to have spotted oil this week in the Bay of Louis. Tom and Kelly Duffy say they were boating Tuesday when they saw what appeared to be oil between the old train bridge and the Highway 90 bridge.
The couple took pictures of what appears to be a dark translucent film on top of the water. The Duffys also took a couple of samples before heading back home.
Once they arrived in Pass Christian, they took the samples to the harbor master who said he turned them over to the Department of Environmental Quality.
The Director of Emergency Operations in Hancock County, Brian Adam, said he was contacted by a friend of the couple who works for the county about the situation. He said his team got on the water within about 15 to 20 minutes of getting the call.
"We didn't find anything," Adam told WLOX News. "I'm not doubting anybody who said they saw it. We saw the pictures, and it definitely looked like some type of sheen, but we did not find it."
Adam said when they receive calls like the one from the Duffys, the EOC team, as well as boats with U.S. Environmental and DEQ come on the scene.
In talks with DEQ, Adam said the location where the oil was spotted makes it highly improbable, though not impossible, it came from the oil spill.
"Where it was, going against the current, it's unlikely it'd be out there from the oil rig. What it was from, we don't know. It could have been from a boat. It could have been from anything," Adam said.
As for DEQ, spokesperson Robbie Wilbur said it's unlikely DEQ will test the Duffys' sample. Wilbur said DEQ must go the scene, gather a viable sample and follow a documented procedure to ensure the integrity of samples they collect. He said the procedure must be followed for legal reasons.
The Duffys still have another sample they bottled up, and plan to have it tested privately.
In the meantime, Adam is asking anyone who spots anything on the beach or in the water to report it immediately so his team will have a better chance of finding it.
To report oil on the shoreline, call (866) 448-5816. To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.
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