Why oil soiled jetties wait for cleaning

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - By Al Showers – bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Tommy Fayard said he couldn't believe his eyes when he road by a Hancock County rock jetty Monday afternoon.

"I saw what looked like oil," Waveland resident Tommy Fayard said. "I had my camera, so I was taking some pictures. The more pictures I took, the more oil I found."

Fayard said after he finished photographing the goo, he reported his discovery.

"BP said they were going to take care of it ASAP, and several days later, the Coast Guard called me. They confirmed that they found it, and that they were going to take care of it as soon as possible," Fayard said.

Three days later, to his surprise, the oil soiled rocks are still there. In fact, it's been there for nearly five weeks, according to BP.

"We've been getting with the MDEQ, DMR to come up with a plan to remove each rock, rock by rock, clean it and put it back," BP Hancock County Branch Director Melvin Castillo said. "There's a lot of rock in that rock jetty. The percentage that we're going to be removing to clean is very small maybe one percent of the rocks."

Melvin Castillo is BP's Hancock County point man. He said there are actually two rock jetties in the area with tar balls that have melted in the summer sun.

"The EMA Director for Hancock and myself went out there and looked at it. We concluded at that time it's probably not good to wash them now until the amount of tar balls coming onto the beach has reduced. Otherwise we'll be cleaning it everyday," Castillo said.

And Castillo said there may be no way to cleanup some of the oil.

"Obviously some of the older stuff has been here long enough for the sun to bake it on the rocks, to where I think it will be impossible to get off the rocks," Fayard said. "The only method I believe personally, get it off the beach. Get it off the beach and replace it with some fresh rock."

The other oil soiled rock jetty in Hancock County is located on the beach in front of the Silver Slipper Casino.

BP's representative told Al Showers there is a plan to secure the oiled areas, but he could not say when cleanup may begin.

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