Possible oil spotted in the Bay of St. Louis - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Possible oil spotted in the Bay of St. Louis

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) -  Bay St. Louis city leaders say they believe the first significant landfall of oil or an oil like substance has hit Hancock County's Shoreline. 

First a large track of an greenish-brown mousse like substance was discovered in the water around the Bay Bridge then hours later what appeared to be oil mixed with water was found on the shoreline in front of Hancock Bank.

What looks like oil mixed with water rolled ashore with the waves.  "This isn't a natural substance that we're looking at because I've lived here for 56 years and I've not seen anything like this on our shorelines in my lifetime."  said Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame. 

In the midst of the oily substance a Redfish is still alive but looks to be fighting for its life.  It's a sight city leaders find extremely unnerving, said the mayor.  "I'm beyond infuriation because there is no reason for this because there's been plenty enough time to do the things we needed to do to protect the Bay of St. Louis."  

A few hours earlier there was a view around the Bay St. Louis Bridge witch included a heavy concentration of a greenish brown mousse like substance.  "There's just a lot of it and we've been seeing some of this on the beaches but not in this quantity." According to Hancock county EOC director Brian Adam.   "Every indication of what we have right now it's algae but we don't know that for a fact at this point ." 

City Council woman Wendy McDonald got a close up look at the stuff from a boat.  "I road from the Wolf River to Henderson Point and there's just ribbons of it coming about every ten feet and there's another ribbon that's mainly tracking between the middle part of the bridge.  It was pretty alarming." 

She and others say what was even more alarming was the booms deployed in the Bay did little to contain the substance.   "Whether or not this proves out to be oil or just a tremendous algae bloom the boom is not keeping it at Bay at all so it's moving beyond the boom very quickly and it's infiltrated the entire Bay Of St. Louis." said Fillingame. 

Early samples of the stuff did not  appear to be oil.  Ward 2 Council woman McDonald has this question.  "Is this the precursor to anything or is this just an anomaly."  McDonald said.  "There is a lot of information we'd like to know right away." 

The Department of Environmental Quality took samples of the material and will have it tested. Fillingame wants answers, "We're very concerned what it is where it came from the fact that nobody saw it coming and nobody knew that it was approaching the bay and we had no for warning."  

City leaders say it's been taking anywhere from 4 to 6 days to test suspected oil substances found on the coast-line. But they say they will demand speedier test results or they will have independent  tests conducted.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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