Oil covers the beach in Hancock County - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Oil covers the beach in Hancock County


By Jessica Bowman – email

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - For the first time since oil began spewing from the sea floor, parts of Hancock County beaches are closed. The beach from Nicholson Avenue passed Lake Shore Road up to the Silver Slipper Casino has been closed to visitors, as well as a portion of Beach Boulevard, as thousands of tar balls continue to wash ashore.

Shoes, water bottles, the beach and parts of the road are covered in brown sludge.

"My theory of it, it looks like a melted tootsie roll," Hancock County Emergency Operations Director Brian Adam said. "I mean, you feel it, you rub it and if you don't use a glove, that stuff is going to be sticking to the glove."

Adam said because the gooey mess has reached parts of Beach Boulevard, officials have temporarily deemed it hazardous for the public.

"We do have a portion of the road closed due to safety issues and safety concerns from Sears Avenue to Lake Shore Road," Adam said.

Along the closed off portion, you'll find everything from tar ball to tar patties, even oily boom.

"On a ordinary day, boom will hold. But let's face it, we had a low pressure system come in. It's been bringing 15 to 20 mile an hour winds or better at times so, it's not going to hold."

Adams said with the entire residue from the oil in the Gulf it became necessary to close the beach to visitors.

"I want to urge everybody to please, please stay off the beaches. This stuff is real nasty, as you can see it sticks. So, the best thing to do is stay off the beach."

According to Adam, in three to five days the beach will be clear of tar balls, that is if no more wash ashore.

"We're going to continue to patrol the beach. The clean up crews will have day and night operations and MDEQ will continue to be out here."

As of now, there are no plans to close any other parts of the beach. Adam said they have found a few oiled birds in recent days.

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