(JACKSON, Miss.) – The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is asking Mississippians to report sightings of any oil or oily material to the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802. It is possible that tar balls, tar mats, or oiled debris could emerge on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Barrier Islands resulting from Hurricane Isaac.
In addition, the release of other petroleum or hazardous materials spotted can also be reported to the National Response Center. BP is responsible for cleanup of Deepwater Horizon MC 252 oil and other releases will be handled by MDEQ, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Coast Guard.
“We appreciate local citizens keeping us informed of any material they may encounter after the storm has passed and the conditions are safe. We ask that members of the public not handle any oil or debris they might find and to call the National Response Center. MDEQ, as part of its ongoing response activities, will be assessing beaches and other areas as soon as it’s safe to do so. Anything found will be handled appropriately, and BP will be responsible for any of its material,” said Trudy Fisher, MDEQ Executive Director.
MDEQ staff continue the MC 252 oil spill response work seven days a week in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard. MDEQ is involved with two types of teams–Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Technique Teams (SCAT) made up of federal, state and responsible party representatives that assess shorelines and make recommendations on removal actions based on the amount of oil remaining, the type of shoreline, and other ecological factors. In addition MDEQ provides State Emergency Response Teams (SERT) that daily assess shoreline segments before and behind BP cleanup crews. These teams provide coordination with local officials, beach managers, and SCAT.