(6) comments Back to story

Mike Leahy

Is oil "hanging out under the piers" at the Port of Galveston, as I have heard from scuttlebutt?

I have seen that before, in other large spills in other ports, and the effect on final clean-up efforts is very challenging. The areas below the pier overhangs can trap a lot of oil on multiplied surface areas, which is very difficult to reach and remove. With each outgoing flow of tide, it tends to pollute the harbor and vessels over and over again.

Hope this is not the case in at the Galveston Wharves...

George Croix

One would think that the spill response officials in charge would have by now begun to use micro-bio on residual smaller and/or difficult to reach areas.
I do not know if doing so would require some special permit or 'environmental study', but it wouldn't surprise me for that to be the case.
Just to help them get started, if so, here's a clue: There is ALREADY an environmental impact. Pick the lessser of the two evils...
Costly, but likely cheaper than the manual process in these areas...

Steve Fouga

"One would think that the spill response officials in charge would have by now begun to use micro-bio on residual smaller and/or difficult to reach areas."

Wise words...

Steve Fouga

"That team will respond to any reports of oil that occur during the summer, down to the smallest tar ball."

This cracked me up big time! A prime opportunity for middle-school pranksters.

"Smallest tar ball" my @ss... Get the oil off the rock groins and jetties. Then you'll have my kudos.

George Croix

Uh, gee, Mr. Kelly, cleanup of small tar balls along Galveston beaches, and every other Gulf beach, has been going on for all of my 63 years, and unless Ma Nature just started natural seeps in 1951, long before that. And they will continue long after I'm gone. And you.
Might want to re-think the time line that separates an honest and thorough response from one that shows that the folks in charge have something approaching a lack of a lick of sense...

Centerpointe Moderator

Most of that historical contamination wasn't from seeps - it was from spills (large numbers of non-newsworthy small events plus some doozies such as Ixtoc).

Twenty five or thirty years ago, nobody went to the beach without a bottle of baby oil in their bag for removing the worst of the oil from their feet when they were done strolling along the water's edge. Children from that era remember their parents yelling at them to not get tar all over their car's upholstery. My husband tells me that rental beach houses in Galveston often had cleaning stations underneath them for the convenience of guests who needed to remove oil from their cars before returning to their regularly-scheduled lives.

Industrial hygiene improved dramatically starting around 1990 after the adoption of the state and federal regulatory frameworks under OPA and TOSPRA, and we haven't had to deal with that kind of constant black annoyance for many years now. Yes, you will still find the occasional tar ball along the beach at Galveston and yes, some of them are from seeps. But the vast majority of the stuff - the anthropogenic component - is long gone. Or it had been, until now.

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