Still Finding BP’s Oil

As officials begin to consider how they might spend eventual RESTORE Act money, the impact of BP’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is still being felt on local beaches. Escambia County currently logs around 50 pounds of tarballs each month.

“They’ve been removing 40 pounds a month, maybe, if you take out Fort Pickens and all that,” said Keith Wilkins, director of Escambia County’s Community and Environment Department. “It’s fell down to maybe 40 to 50.”

BP contractors work the beach on Santa Rosa Island three or four times a week. Recently they recovered a 30 by 5 foot mat of oil on the beach.

“They estimated that to be 150 pounds,” Wilkins said.

Escambia does not keep track of the amount of weathered oil recovered from federal stretches of beach, such as the Fort Pickens area. Those areas were only cleaned six inches deep, due to concerns about disturbing the ecosystem.

“Their recovery rates have been a lot higher,” Wilkins said.