New fabric fence may protect the Bay of St. Louis - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

New fabric fence may protect the Bay of St. Louis

By WLOX Staff

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) -  BP contract work crews are in the process of adding a third layer of protection against oil in the Bay Of St. Louis.  Crews are building a large fence in the Bay designed to keep oil from reaching the delicate marshes.   The metal and fabric fence going up in the Bay will span nearly a mile when finished.  

Its job will be to keep oil away from the bay's pristine marches, according to Randy O'Boyle, and environmental consultant for BP.  "It's a  fence boundary. There is some boom on the outside of the bay, there is some boom on the inside of the bay. On the chance that the booms fail and the oil gets through then we have this as a final barrier to make sure oil doesn't get into this marsh or the larger marsh back behind."   

Right now crews are building the frame work but eventually a thick fabric will be attached to the fence, O'Boyle said.  "It's going to run in a continuous line around the corner and then up by Pogo Street it's going to form a large hook and if some oil does get through here it will be deflected into that large hook so it can be easily collected."

He says the barrier is environmentally friendly too.  "We're putting it a foot off the bottom to make sure if there are any animals that crawl on the bottom anything like that it can get through.  And there will be plenty of the material above the water line to make sure if there is wave action and the oil does come in it want splash over the fence." 

Similar fencing is being used in other parts of the Coast, but it's the first time this type of none absorbent fabric has been used by BP. "It's a stronger fabric with the ability to withstand the marine environment a little bit longer."  remarked O'Boyle. 

It should take the work crew about three days to construct the fence.

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