ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WALA) – All summer long, clean-up crews have combed beaches removing oil from the surface. But teams out now are literally digging deeper. They’re going beneath the surface and into the surf to find hidden crude.
Saturday morning, Todd Farrar dove into the surf at Orange Beach looking for the crude that disappeared. The oil that washed up and then washed back out forming deposits just offshore.
“We find the oil within five, ten meters of the shore buried 10 or 15 inches deep fairly regularly,” he said.
Farrar is the leader of the Shoreline Coastal Assessment Team, and it’s their job to find hidden oil and figure out ways to clean it up.
“We’re looking to make sure that we get all of the oil that may come up again later in a storm that may get redeposited with the shifting of the sand,” Farrar said.
A MASSIVE JOB
Coast Guard Rear Admiral Paul Zukunft is the Federal On-Scene Coordinator and he said the job ahead is huge.
“We had 600 miles of coastline impacted by this oil and they actually go foot by foot, mile by mile assessing where we’ve had oil cleanup and what needs to be cleaned,” Zukunft told us.
The team will determine how deep crews need to dig to get to the oil buried in the sand.
“Some of that tar has actually soaked into the sand column so we’ll actually go much deeper than the surface to remove that oil and tar,” said Zukunft.
How long the deep clean takes will be determined by weather and how far down they have to go. For folks visiting the beach today it’s work they know has to happen.
“I’m assuming they’re here to do a job that still needs to be done. So that’s a good thing.” said tourist Paul Williamson from Montgomery.