Oil 125 miles off St. Andrew Pass
Now Playing: Sunbird Condo on the Emerald Coast
Topic: Oil Spill
Bay County beaches remained clear throughout the holiday weekend, Bay County Emergency Services Chief Mark Bowen told the Bay County Board of County Commissioners at their regular meeting Tuesday.
"The NOAA trajectories show the oil well away from Bay County shores," Bowen said. "It's about 125 miles south-southwest of the pass. I anticipate that in the coming days the weather will continue to be favorable for us."
As of Tuesday afternoon, state emergency management officials had received one report of about a dozen small tarballs being collected at Shell Island.
Bowen said BP contractors continue to scour Bay County beaches for signs of oil and worked through the holiday weekend doing so, though no significant amounts of product were recovered. He said some 1,000 contract employees are currently working here, with approximately 750 on duty during daylight hours and another 250 working at night.
Bowen added that crews were working to open Lake Powell so that rainwater collected there may escape -- he said the waterway would be closed again to protect it from oil intrusion after it sufficiently drains.
Bowen also reported to the board that the U.S. Coast Guard and BP officials at the highest levels are currently reviewing the pass project for reimbursement to Bay County. A BP official publicly committed to paying for the approximately $3 million effort at a meeting a couple of weeks ago.
"I don't see any impediment to getting to that public commitment that BP already made," Bowen said. He said that the state and federal permits were received as quickly as they were is promising. "I expect to hear back on that very shortly."
Last week, responders received a rash of reports of oil sheen and mousse off Bay County beaches late Thursday and early Friday morning. None of the reports, however, was determined to have been oil product, but rather was found to be naturally occurring substances such as seagrass and algae. Click here to read a press release about discerning oil from naturally occurring substances.