Teams scour Hancock County beaches for oil related material - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Teams scour Hancock County beaches for oil related material

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

By Al Showers – bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It's a job Jesse Fineran never imaged would be needed in Hancock County: an oil spill beach patrol.

A crew from the Hancock County Emergency Operations Center scours the beach every day looking for anything out of the ordinary. You might call them "beachcombers" because they cover the entire seven mile stretch of beachfront in Hancock County daily.

"We're looking for any animals that may be affected by the oil or oil related products, such as tar balls. Anything that's not ordinary. Anything that would be a hazard to Hancock County residents," Beach Patrol Coordinator Jesse Fineran said.

The beaches are given the once over twice a day, in the early morning hours and late afternoons.

"Twice a day is done in order that we have different tides and we like to do it on an ingoing and outgoing tide," Fineran said.

A close eye has been kept on Hancock County's shoreline ever since the oil disaster first happened.

"There were a number of turtles that had come up on the beaches several weeks after the disaster."

He estimates 50 to 75 tar balls have been discovered on the beach.

"They did find tar balls in Grand Isle prior to the event, before the oil came ashore."

Fineran is tasked with finding that kind of stuff before untrained eyes discover it.

"If the residents see anything on the beach that looks unusual, especially if it's of a black or reddish color, do not touch it. Please call the EOC or any local authority and we'll have DEQ come out immediately."

Fortunately on this beachcomb, DEQ's assistance was not needed.

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