“This is the start of what we’ve all talked about for a couple of months now, really get these beaches back to the level of clean that we want them to be at,” says BP spokesman Ray Mellick as BP launches “Operation Deep Clean”.
Along with sunbathers and surf, tractors and something called a Sand Shark are the latest additions to clean up efforts along Alabama’s gulf coast.
“I think its super down here. We come a lot apparently there must be something 24 inches deep,”says tourist Thomas Patterson. This is phase three of BP’s clean up operation. Buried oil, tar balls and tar mats are the target according to Mellick. “There are probably 10 to 12 machines with each task force. That would include one Sand Shark, a number of beach cleaning machines like you see here behind me and we’ve got some old fashion tractors and plows.”
After a slow start the kinks seemed to be worked out by afternoon. “They set out here for four hours this morning. There were ten to fifteen machines and thirty men or so trying to decide what to do. You’d think if they got all the equipment in here they would know what to do,” says Ghedda Cianciola visiting from Tennessee.
Between the Florabama and Perdido Pass is one of two crews working the deep clean in Alabama. BP says they will use more crews and more equipment if they are needed.
“I don’t like it. I personally think they need to have ten Sand Sharks on site. They need to have five or ten times the number of people. I don’t want to take any chances.” Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon says this week is all about proving what works and what doesn’t. “If this week we are not absolutely pleased with the product and how much distance they’ve gotten done in one weeks time, then you’ll hear, I promise you’ll be the first to know, because I’m going to start raising cane again.”