MOBILE, Ala.–(ENEWSPF)–Sept. 7, 2010. All of the hard (containment) boom deployed as part of the federal-led response but now potentially posing more risk than it offers protection for vital shorelines in Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle has now been recovered. The Incident Command Post (ICP) at Mobile announced that more than 1.6 million feet of hard boom has been removed from those state waters. Crews are currently in the process of removing the remaining fragments of storm-damaged hard boom from areas where it was stranded.
Responders continue to remain vigilant and ready to deploy boom should it be needed to protect the coast from any new threats from oil that may emerge. Removed boom is being inspected, cleaned, repaired and stored at sites along the Gulf Coast for redeployment should the need arise. Damaged boom that cannot be repaired is recycled or reused to the fullest extent possible.
The ICP in Mobile worked with federal, state and local officials to remove the hard boom that is no longer needed for the response due to the fact that no visible oil has been spotted on the surface of the Gulf in these areas recently. Additionally, with the height of hurricane season, the boom could damage environmentally sensitive lands or become a hazard during high winds or seas of a hurricane or tropical storm.
During the oil spill response, a total of more than 3.7 million feet of hard boom was placed at critical points to protect wildlife refuges, estuaries, beaches, marshes and other environmentally sensitive and economically significant lands throughout the Gulf Coast. Placement of boom along the coast was one of the aggressive actions taken by the response team to prevent oil from reaching the shore.
“Removal of hard boom is the right operational decision,” said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Steven Poulin, Incident Commander at ICP Mobile. “We remain fully committed to this response and stand prepared to redeploy boom should that be necessary as well as remove any oily material from the shoreline as quickly as possible in our continued effort to protect the Gulf Coast and its natural beauty.”
Response branches in Louisiana are currently working with local partners to identify unneeded boom in that state for removal.
Surveillance of the waters and shoreline in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida continues allowing response teams to quickly and efficiently remove tar balls or oiled debris that is sighted.
Current response efforts throughout the Gulf Coast also include an expanded and enhanced subsurface monitoring program for oil or dispersants in the water column or on the bottom. Teams are systematically and methodically conducting surveys in the bays, surf zone, near-shore and offshore waters to determine whether recoverable oil is present beneath the water’s surface. To date more than 28,000 sites have been sampled.