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BP Expects To Finish Clean-up of Mississippi Coast in 30 Days

By Rhonda Miller | Published 26 Oct 2011 11:56pm | comments
BP clean-up crew on Horn Island.

A year-and-a-half after the BP oil spill, the clean-up of the Mississippi Gulf Coast is nearly done. To get a first-hand look at the results, MPB’s Rhonda Miller rode along with BP Wednesday on a boat to Horn Island.

Fifteen miles offshore from Pascagoula, the white sand and scattered trees of Horn Island rise up from a sparkling sea. Reaching the shore, the vehicles BP has been using for the clean-up come into view – boats and jeeps.  

BP spokesman Ray Melick says workers picked up more than 5,000 pounds of oily debris and litter from Mississippi’s barrier islands just since mid-October. The clean-up had been suspended for seven months before that because of bird nesting season. Now Melick says the end is in sight.

"We’re hopeful that within 30 days we’ll have the biggest part of the clean-up done," Melick says. "And then we can begin to talk with the state and federal agencies and, of course, the Park Service to see if we meet the standard everybody’s kind of agreed on and see what the next phase is after that."

On a long stretch of white beach, BP clean-up workers walk methodically, with a long pole and net in one hand to scoop up tar balls.

Douglas Edwards of Moss Point has collected some small tar balls in his net.

"Mostly, your tar balls have a little shine on them. See how they got the little...the sand kind of sparkles on them? That’s kind of different from anything else you’ll find on the island," Edwards says.

Contract foreman David Saucier of Biloxi has worked on several of the barrier islands and remembers when the disaster hit.

"Oh, there was oil everywhere. There was a lot of oil." (What’d it look like?) "They had the circle clumps and then they had the tar mats, that just was everywhere. Some of them bigger than cars." (A tar mat?) "We’d get thousands of pounds out of one area sometimes," Sacuier says.

In Mississippi, BP has cleaned-up four million pounds of oily debris from the spill.



BP clean-up crew on Horn Island.



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