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Monday October 20th 2014

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Bargain Basement BP-Boom


Still searching for Christmas gifts? How about 3,000 feet of hard boom left over from the 2010 oil spill?

The City of Orange Beach, Ala., is auctioning off its surplus boom on govdeals.com.

“We’d all be happy to get $10,000,” said Phillip West, the city’s coastal resources manager.

The surplus boom—the hard variety, as opposed to absorbent boom—was never used during the spill. It was paid for by BP and given to the city by the state of Alabama.

“Nobody wanted to be left holding all this boom,” West said, recalling that during the height of the disaster the boom was running around $100 per foot.

Orange Beach also has a fair amount of absorbent boom left over from the spill. The city is holding on to the absorbent variety because it worked much better than the hard boom.

“Frankly, the sea just kind of washed oil right over it,” West said of the hard boom.

“During that time the M.O. was to try anything and everything.”

Auctioning off the boom will not be Orange Beach’s first foray into the surplus market. It has also sold off an elaborate boom-system used in Perdido Pass. Consisting of boom, pipes and cables, that system was also funded by BP—to the tune of about $4 million—and donated by the state.

“We gave the state a place to store it when it was pulled out, before one of the tropical storms—it never went back in, they plugged the well,” West said. “The state said, ‘you know what, it’s not even in our inventory,’ and they city took it.”

That system was sold for $147,000 to an organization that plans to use it for the construction of a marina on the Arkansas River.