So far Mexico Beach has no tar balls or oil sheen near our beaches.
However, I've had a lot of folks ask what they should do if they see anything on the beach.
Below is the City Administrators response to that specific question
If anyone sees tar balls, they should not touch
them but mark their location and call (850) 248-6030; that number is the
local number to report oiled water or beaches. If they want to call a toll
free number to report oil, that number is (800) 448-5816. If there is an
oil sheen, we will already know about it because sheens are easily seen
from the air.
What the EOC has told us is that the oil has been in the
water so long that by the time it hits the beaches to our west, all the
toxins have evaporated and so the tar balls are non-toxic. They also don't
have any smell so it isn't going to smell like oil or tar.
The reason why the people only need to mark them, not touch them (even
though they are non-toxic), and call one of the two above numbers is
because DEP will come out, collect the tar balls, and run tests on them.
This will also prevent them from needing to look for a place to dispose of
the tar balls. If people want to volunteer, have them contact the Red
Cross at (866) 448-5816 or via e-mail at email@example.com
REALLY GOOD INFORMATION BELOW!!!
This is from the City Administrator as well.
Just FYI, as of today, we have 25 contractors on our beaches, checking for
tar balls. They also have two mules for added mobility. If anyone asks
you about all these people, you will be able to inform them of this fact.
Also, as of this morning, I requested boom, from both Bay County and BP, so
that we can boom off the canal; we will use the boom for as long as the
oil impact is relatively minor (like what is currently occurring in
Pensacola and Walton County); however, if we are forecasted to receive a
large patch of tar balls or an oil sheen, we will at that point completely
sand the canal closed. Sanding the canal shut for anything less than a
major oil impact would be "over-kill" and, with the booms, we can keep some
access into and out of our canal for use by BP's contractors, vessels of
opportunity, or fishing boats (if the fishing areas aren't shut down).
I remain optimistic that we are going to see a minimal affect here at Mexico Beach!!
Don't hesitate to call me with any questions!