Beaches Get Specialized Cleanup

Specialized equipment is giving Harrison County's beaches an overhaul like no other. The huge machines near the water line on the beach scoop up the top foot of sand, sifting out the clean particles from sand that's cluttered with debris.

"So this machine captures that entire width and depth into a machine and paddles it up into a shaker, or a strainer, allows the clean sand to fall through the grid. The debris is being collected on top of it and shook off into an in-loader, which is then put into a dumpster and disposed of," Beach Director Bobby Weaver explains.

Necaise Construction is overseeing the project. James Necaise says it's not the kind of equipment that's in every county's inventory.

"The county doesn't have a need for this equipment year round. This equipment was brought in from Phoenix to handle this process," Necaise says.

Weaver says the county will have to renourish the beach to restore the width that's being lost with the cleanup. But he says it will look just as it did before the storm.

When the work is finished in March, Weaver says people will be able to come to the beach. As far as getting in the water, it's still full of debris and Weaver's not sure it'll be safe for swimming.

"We just have to wait and see what unfolds in the Spring with that situation."

The cleanup is costing $7 million. FEMA will reimburse Harrison County as part of the debris removal costs.