Ocean Springs prepping new product to fight oil - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Ocean Springs prepping new product to fight oil


By Krystal Allan – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Rolls of a material called x-tex sat piled up on a truck in front of Ocean Springs' Front Beach. In the water stood a prototype of what the product will ultimately look like fenced along sections of the shoreline.

UltraTech International is the company behind x-tex. It's a recycled, absorbent material that traps oil, but allows water to pass through.  Its creators say, the material is hydrophilic, which allows the material to filter water more quickly, thereby absorbing more oil.

"The water will come through the material, then release back through, so you're actually going to get the front and back of the fabric exposed to oil and as the tide comes in and leaves out," said Tim McGrath with UltraTech International Inc.

The material is about five feet wide, making it a good option, according to Mayor Connie Moran, to trap oil dispersed beneath the surface.  A wire frame will keep the material upright and steel posts will anchor it into the water.  The material, when assembled, will resemble a silt fence.

The Department of Marine Resources has approved funding for one mile of the x-tex fencing at 13 different areas along the Ocean Springs shoreline, including sensitive marsh areas and bayous.

"We've gone through and prioritized the city's shoreline from Benjamin Point, which is north of the bridge at Lover's Lane, all the way out to the Gulf Coast Research Lab," said Project Manager David Keith.

The barrier will include two lines of fencing.  The first line will consist of boom wrapped in x-tex attached to an 18 inch piece of x-tex material. The second fence will consist of the material to help upright by wire framing and anchored in the water with steel posts.

"Every 250 feet of this x-tex fence will absorb 375 gallons of oil," McGrath said.

The fencing will be staggered so marine life came swim freely through the water until oil moves in.

The fencing will take about ten days to put up.  DMR has approved funding for Ocean Springs, Pascagoula and other areas of Jackson County to have a mile each of the x-text fencing.  BP paid for the project, which totaled $3 million.

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