OIL WAS APPARENTLY AIRBORNE” says city-employed geologist — Reports of “oily brown substance” that “you could actually feel it in your hair” (PHOTO & AUDIO)

Friday, September 3, 2010
By Paul Martin

September 3rd, 2010

Listen at 9:00 a.m. to NPR’s report ‘Gulf Communities Investigate Spill’s Oily Residue‘.

Morning Edition interviewed Ted Scarritt of Orange Beach, Ala. who owns a company that rents beach chairs and umbrellas.

“Scarritt and his workers noticed recently that when the wind was coming in strong from the south, over a foamy, churned-up Gulf, the wind was carrying something new onto the beach. Just like you might get a film of seaspray on your sunglasses, the beach workers felt a greasier material,” according to the report.

“You could actually feel it in your hair and stuff,” beach worker Matt Cole told Morning Edition.

The crew also said, “The umbrellas… they were slippery. ‘You could rub your finger along the shaft of the aluminum pole on the umbrella and it was kind of an oily brown substance,’ the report continued.

Scarrit told NPR, “I have a lot of questions… but I don’t even know how to ask them.”

Krebs Architecture and Engineering and Cameron Consulting were hired by the city Orange Beach to monitor for oil in the air, water and soil.

“Geologist Mark White has also confirmed that oil was apparently airborne, coating the sea oats that line the sand dunes on the beach. He runs a white napkin along the stem of the plant, and it comes back with a greasy brown tinge. ‘Problematic for sure,’ he says… ‘We are trying to figure it out but we’re living in it while we’re trying to figure it out,’” the report noted.

Audio available here at 9:00 a.m. EDT.

Interim Summary Report of Analytical Results for Sea Oats, City of Orange Beach, AL, August 26, 2010:

Visible impact to sea oats observed on August 17, 2010. The observed area of impact stretches from the pink bracket on the left and the pink bracket on the far right.

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