Experts say oil could make hurricane cleanup hazardous - - The News for South Mississippi

Experts say oil could make hurricane cleanup hazardous

By Krystal Allan – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Forecasters are predicting an above average hurricane season for 2010. Initial predictions come from groups like the Colorado State University hurricane forecasting team. If surge waters make their way to the coast, the bottom line is there will be a lot more to clean up.

Dr. Bill Walker who oversees the Department of Marine Resources said although the circumstances are different, dealing with oil following a hurricane is nothing new to the coast. But Walker admits the oil would be much more prevalent in this situation.

"We had a fair amount of diesel and oily material after Hurricane Katrina, nothing along this magnitude," Walker said. "It will complicate things. It simply means that if you have debris coated with crude oil, then that's got to be disposed of as hazardous waste."

Walker said there is some truth to the notion that heightened wave action, to some extent, can break up some of the oil.

"Wave action is our friend up to a point, particularly with dispersed oil," Walker said.

No matter how active this hurricane season turns out to be, Walker said the most important thing to do is to stay proactive and have a plan in place.

"The State of Mississippi has a plan in place. We'll deal with it, but we hope it doesn't happen. But, if it happens, we'll deal with it."

NOAA is expected to come out with its official storm and hurricane forecast sometime Thursday.

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