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The State of the Gulf’s Beaches: BP Oil Spill Weekly Pollution Summary, 1/12/14-1/17/14

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Contrary to BP’s assertions that the Gulf is making a strong recovery and that any lasting effects from the company’s Deepwater Horizon Blowout are minimal, I offer this weekly summary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) daily beach monitoring surveys.

Typical Beach Survey Coverage

Example of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s typical beach survey coverage on any given day. The FDEP usually covers less than 1,000 yards when collecting the BP oil residue pictured below. All Photos courtesy of FDEP.

Since the end of BP’s official cleanup efforts in June 2013, government agencies (not BP) have documented and removed over 26,200 Surface Residue Balls (SRBs), better known as tar balls, and more than 400 pounds of Deepwater Horizon oil from Florida’s beaches alone (not including Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana or Texas). On an average survey day, the FDEP team covers no more than 1,000 yards of beach, less than 1% of Florida’s shoreline that was impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

These numbers thus represent a very limited snapshot of residual oiling on Northwest Florida’s beaches. If one were to extrapolate this data to include all of Florida’s Gulf beaches, as well as the coasts of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, it would not be hard to imagine that the problem is much more pervasive and lasting than BP is willing to admit.

Much of this oil material is contaminated with deadly, flesh-eating bacteria. Laypeople should not handle.

Readers may find daily reports of the FDEP’s findings here. What follows is a summary of FDEP’s reports, including number and volume of tar balls recovered, as well as associated photos, filed for the week of January 12, 2014, nearly four years after the spill.

Week of January 12, 2014 Stats

Amount of BP Deepwater Horizon tar balls (“SRBs”) collected for the week.

January 16, 2014 BP Oil - SRB Sample C

Portion of BP Oil collected January 16, 2014 on Escambia County, Florida beaches. These hardened balls are often filled with deadly, flesh-eating bacteria. Do not handle without protective gloves.

January 16, 2014 BP Oil - SRP Sample B

Portion of BP Oil collected Thursday, January 16, 2014 on Escambia County, Florida beaches.

January 15, 2014 BP Oil - SRB Sample A

Portion of BP Oil collected January 15, 2014 on Escambia County, Florida beaches.

January 15, 2014 BP Oil - SRP Sample B

Portion of BP Oil collected January 15, 2014 on Escambia County, Florida beaches.

January 15, 2014 BP Oil - SRP Sample A

Portion of BP Oil collected January 15, 2014 on Escambia County, Florida beaches.

January 14, 2014 BP Oil - SRB Sample B

Portion of BP Oil collected January 14, 2014 on Escambia County, Florida beaches.

January 14, 2014 BP Oil - SRB Sample A

Portion of BP Oil collected January 14, 2014 on Escambia County, Florida beaches.

January 13, 2014 BP Oil - SRB Sample

Portion of BP Oil collected January 13, 2014 on Escambia County, Florida beaches.

 

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