Action Report: Shoreline Park residents say derelict boats are causing pollution in canal

Action Report: Shoreline Park residents say derelict boats are causing pollution in canal

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Dwayne Lewis moved into his home in Shoreline Park in 2012. He says he was hoping to enjoy living on the Coast, taking advantage of the waterways, fishing and crabbing.

He says over the last three years, a number of sunken boats owned by Dewey Bobinger have been polluting the canal. One of the boats, located next to his home, was recently raised but part of the boat is missing.

"A derelict vessel is any vessel that's underwater for 90 days. Once it's underwater for 90 days, it's considered abandoned and DMR has the right to move it out of here. The city has the right to move it out of here or the county in which it's in. Nobody has done anything," said Lewis.

Lewis says he's been to city council meetings, has contacted the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Marine Resources.

"All this marsh grass is stained with petroleum and diesel fuel, "said Lewis.

Hazmat has been out to the site twice to help remove diesel fuel from the canal.

Helen Peters lives next door to the empty lot and says the boat has been submerged several times since the BP oil spill.

"Our waterways need to be cleaned back up. We can't go outside and fish or crab," said Peters.

Roy Herron lives across the street from Bobinger's lot.

"You could set a crab trap in the canal, and your crabs would die in the crab trap, "said Herron. "It's been going on for too long. It needs to be corrected."

I spoke with Bobinger on the phone. He told me that the boat has been submerged three or four times and has leaked fuel in the canal.

He says he is in the process of removing the boat board by board and hopes to have the project completed in about 30 days.

City Councilman Lonnie Falgout says Bay St. Louis has reached out to government officials.

"We haven't been able to get anything accomplished, "said Falgout. "The Federal EPA has been involved, and it's all fallen on deaf ears."

Lewis discovered a state law, Universal Citation Mississippi Code 49-27-71. He presented the code to the city council this past Tuesday. Falgout says he and city attorney Don Rafferty will take action.

"The city can take action if nothing was done, "said Falgout. "Mr. Rafferty and I just discussed it, so I understand that there's going to be a reach out today to DMR and there's also going to be a reach out to MDEQ, and if I don't have any more satisfaction, I'll make a motion next Tuesday night to have these boats removed at the city's expense."

Falgout told me that he'll notify WLOX once a final decision on the removal of the boat or boats is made.

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