Tar balls continue to wash ashore in Hancock County

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - By Jessica Bowman – email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Tar balls are still washing up on the beaches of Hancock County. Some boaters think those tar balls are coming from what they say is oil in the Bay of St. Louis. But some local officials maintain what those fisherman saw is sea foam, not oil.

Boater Nick Signorelli was in the Bay of St. Louis for much of the day Thursday. He said he did see some sea foam, but the majority of what he saw was oil.

"It wasn't like regular sea foam that has a tan or white color," Signorelli said. "It was definitely a darker brown and had an oil sheen to it, and you seen smaller tar balls with in it."

Signorelli said the oil sheen he saw stretched from the Bay Bridge out to the Gene Taylor Reef.

"Saw various strands of oil about a mile long or so about four or five of them," Signorelli said.

Hancock County Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Adam said the Emergency Operations Center had numerous calls about the same type of oil streaks Signorelli saw.

"We've had people go check it out and we had DEQ and U.S. Environmental go and all indications right now that it was sea foam," Adam said.

According to Adam, the DEQ will test some samples just to make sure they know exactly what it is.

"I've got to depend on the experts and hopefully they'll let us know."

As experts test what is in the water, Adam said he can confirm what is washing up on the county's beaches.

"As you can see all along through here, especially around the out falls, you have quit a few tar balls," said Adam.

Adam said oil and tar balls continue to wash ashore daily. Adam said he has not heard when MDEQ's results of the substance will be in. But said no matter what it is, crews will continue to clean the beaches.

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