JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Two containers containing hazardous materials washed up beachfront in Jackson County on Monday. Since then, more have drifted ashore, a result of the storm surge from last weekend's arrival of Hurricane Nate.
"I'm sure the hurricane probably drove them in here. They probably come from some offshore operation, whether it was a barge or maybe even oil or gas rigs out on the Gulf," said Earl Etheridge, Jackson County emergency management director.
The containers, called totes, have markings on the side saying "Danger, Diesel Fuel."
"If they were to leak, this is the only natural beach on the Mississippi gulf coast in Jackson County, this stretch of beach, so obviously that would be a concern," Etheridge noted.
One way to find out is to bang on the totes to determine if there is anything inside. The ones found in Jackson County were full, so it's better to be safe than sorry.
According to Nick Hatten with the MDEQ, "It is a potential danger as of right now."
If diesel fuel is present, it could be harmful to the environment. "The diesel fuel could get into the bird's feathers and effect buoyancy. And they also try and clean themselves and things like that and ingest the diesel fuel," said Hatten.
That's why every precaution is being taken until these tanks are toted away.
There is good news about the totes. Officials with the company that rented the containers have notified state officials they are aware of the problem, and plan to remove them in the next several hours.