GULF SHORES, Alabama (WALA) – Joey Phillips, who owns property along the beach in Gulf Shores, found the tide washed more than water ashore.
Phillips said he was walking with his wife along the water early Sunday morning. When they had finished, the bottoms of his wife’s feet were black.
The remnants of oil are so tiny, you may miss them. Once you touch a piece, the crude oil smears your hands. Phillips said they are carried in with the tide.
“I reached down and touched them and it’s oil, little bitty tiny pellets where the dispersant has washed them up,” said Phillips.
Philips said clean-up crews were out working the beach Sunday morning, but missed the tiny remnants of oil. He said he walked behind the crew picking up quarter-sized tar balls.
Phillips said he told the crews about the oil and at first, they told him it was just mud.
“I showed them what I had and they got off with their rubber gloves and got down and looked at it, and they said they would report it,” said Phillips.
Phillips has been planning his retirement at the beach, and now fears his plan is ruined.
“I hate it. This is where I wanted to retire at, where I bought property at. I’ve been here to retire and now we have oil on our beaches. I can’t even get in the water any more because we get oil on us,” he said.
Phillips is also scared for the future of his property investments at the beach.
“The BP claims people paid us well last year. They did well but now they want to do a final claim, and it will only last us one year. In one year were going to be back to were we was and we’ll probably all lose our properties after that and that’s my retirement,” said Phillips.
Not all tourists are avoiding Gulf Shores. Pete Saale has been heading south every winter for the past five years.
“We’ll probably still come back because we love Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, but I can see how some people wouldn’t,” said Saale.
Back in November, Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft gave BP a clean-up deadline. At a Coastal Recovery Commission meeting, Craft said the beaches must be clean by February 8.