Inland Oil: Sheen penetrated 10 miles beyond Florida inlet; Residents using fencing and cages to battle oil

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
By Paul Martin
June 15th, 2010

Booms haven’t kept oil out of bay, sound, Pensacola News Journal, June 15, 2010:

Florida politicians called for more federal assistance in responding to the Gulf oil spill Monday, as barriers at Pensacola Pass failed to keep oil out of Pensacola Bay.

Oil sheens were spotted as far inshore as the Bob Sikes Bridge on Santa Rosa Sound. Scattered clusters of tar balls, red weathered crude and mousse were observed across much of Pensacola Bay as well as inside Little Sabine Bay. Oil seeped into the grass beds in and around Lafitte Cove, where Pensacola Beach’s Peg Leg Pete’s restaurant is located.

Large plumes of red weathered oil were spotted about two miles south of the coast Monday, and reconnaissance missions reported oil products ranging from tar balls to massive sheens just outside Pensacola Pass.

“We’re seeing a lot of tar balls and things that are popping up here and there, and we will address those as best we can, as quickly as we can, working with the unified command system and the cleanup contractors,” Escambia County Emergency Manager John Dosh said.

During a ride aboard a Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission boat Monday afternoon, reporters saw a 100-yard-long swath of quarter-sized brown tar balls floating more than a mile inside of Pensacola Pass.

The oil has been able to get past a large, V-shaped boom, which is stretched across the pass each night to funnel oil into collection areas during the incoming tide.

The boom is only effective at capturing oil floating near the surface of the water, however, and county officials on Monday said oil may be passing beneath the protective boom then floating to the surface once inside the bay. …

Weather forecasts Monday predict southwesterly winds will continue to push oil toward Pensacola for the next three days. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration trajectory forecasts show continued shoreline impact at least through Wednesday. …

On Sunday, three private owners took absorbent cloth attached to fencing and oyster cages through patches of tar balls, City Manager Edwin “Buz” Eddy said.

“We were just trying all kinds of different things to make it work,” he said. “One of the problems we had was trying to float it through the oil and retrieve it. We are still trying to revise our plans and keep working at it.”

The city tried using a landing net Monday, Eddy said.

“That worked reasonably well,” he said. …

“Counties are being hamstrung because of the nickel-and-diming that is being done,” [U.S. Congressman] Miller said.

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