Sand cleaning machine tested on South Mississippi beaches

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Rebecca Powers – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Work crews are cleaning our coast beaches by hand, but what if a sand cleaning machine could do the job faster and more efficiently?

A company out of Florence, Mississippi, is here with their "pipeline padding solution."

The machine was invented to clean sand out of pipelines, but it also cleans sand of any contamination then puts it back in place.

Makers say a field test last week in Florida showed promising results, and they hope BP will hire them to get to work on beaches here.

"Spic and Span Sand" is what makers of a "pipeline padding" system are promising.

Last week on Florida beaches, Tim Temple said his company tested the machine that's been modified for deep sand cleaning and BP seemed satisfied with the results.

Tim Temple is the Vice President of Hemphill Construction, Inc. out of Florence, MS.

Temple said, "We actually dipped down nearly 18 to 24 inches deep, cleaning it with no debris left in the sand at all. We're doing it today with basically the same results on the Mississippi beaches."

Dipping below the sand surface is important in the oil cleanup here according to Harrison County's Sand Beach Director Bobby Weaver.

Weaver said, "This is to address one of the concerns we have had all along. Is it's easy to get what's on the surface than what's embedded in. How deep does this oil go into the Shoreline area and what we are trying to do here. To see what this equipment can get and how deep is the oil in the shoreline right now."

Weaver said this machine was actually used here after Katrina and did quite well. Now another big task lies before him, cleaning oil off South Mississippi beaches.

"The intent is to get it in here where the oil is and try to get these solid tar balls removed from the beach and see if it's something we can incorporate into the cleaning process now as most of oil appears to have passed us."

Temple is hopeful the "pipeline padding" system will be a good tool to clean Coast beaches once again.

"It cleaned up the beaches after Katrina, so it could clean up the tar balls," Temple said. "So we are here to test it ,and see what it does."

They will be testing the machine here all week. There is no word yet on when a decision will be made to use it or not.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.