GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - By Elizabeth Vowell – email
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) – The BP contractor responsible for deploying boom into the Mississippi Sound is now charged with pulling it out.
"Once that well is killed, there's no surface oil out there. Then there's no threat and the boom would serve no purpose," said US Environmental Services Operating Officer George Malvaney.
According to USES, there is more than 500,000 feet of boom floating in the Sound, but most isn't collecting oil.
"We've gone through the process and tried to identify what we call the non critical boom. Some of it is ineffective at this point in time," said Malvaney
The Coast Guard, BP, and other state officials also have concerns that the boom could cause damage if left in open water during the peak of hurricane season.
"We decided that it's better to remove the boom in the event of heavy weather, especially as we approach the height of hurricane season," said Coast Guard Capt. Steve Poulin. "We don't want to see that boom get dislodged, get into a marsh where it's going to cause greater environmental harm."
Malvaney said even though boom is coming in, clean up will not stop. Workers will continue to pick up tar balls and Trinity Yachts is still building skimmers, three of which will be launched in a few days.
"We want to continue. We are still getting some tar balls in, patches of tar balls and that's part of the process of removing boom. We now have a very aggressive skimming capability that we didn't have a month ago," said Malvaney.
The BP contractor said it will take several weeks to collect all the boom, but that there shouldn't be a change in the amount of oil washing up on beaches.