Preparations include possible implementation of berms, geo-bales and silt fencing
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is flying a helicopter daily to obtain real time reports of the location and status of oil. Areas of oil have been spotted three to five miles south of Destin. Wind and water currents change the position of the concentrations of oil daily. As the oil gets closer to our coastline, Walton County prepares to fight the battle and keep as much oil as possible from reaching South Walton’s beaches. Over the next 24-72 hours, residents and visitors can expect to see activities taking place on the beaches, and along the coast to protect the pristine environment as part of Walton County’s coastal protection plan. This plan will be implemented in stages in response to the current situation and levels of impact.
Just offshore, spotters in the air and water will be utilized to direct vessels of opportunity to deploy absorbent materials in the water to soak up oil, which will then be off loaded onto pre-positioned barges carrying lined containers. They will then transport the oil soaked material to be disposed of properly.
On shore, berms will be built in areas that do not have a naturally occurring berm. These beaches will be recontoured to mimic the natural berm and provide an added level of protection and mitigate oil from reaching upland areas of the beach. At completion, there will be a continuous berm, either constructed or natural, that will allow Walton County to contain oil impacts for easy clean up.
If the impacts become more prevalent, geo-bale and silt fence will be deployed along the coastline to collect oil and prevent it from going further on shore and consolidate cleaning activities.
Clean up crews will immediately be deployed to remove any oil substance as soon as it is located. These procedures will be repeated as many times as necessary to keep our beaches clean. Some areas may be hit more frequent than others, and some may not be affected at all. Booms will be deployed to inland waterways of the Bay, as well as the use of silt fence.
Walton County agencies and organizations continue to have a unified approach in planning for and responding to this situation. Coordination and consultation continues daily with the State and Federal agencies, as well as BP. Walton County is prepared and ready to respond to any scenarios and all levels of impact.
If Walton County shoreline receives impacts, there is a clear process through BP and DEP for removal. It is not permitted for any business or individual to conduct clean up efforts. If oil is spotted, please call 850-267-2000 and 1-866-448-5816.