Cat Island clean-up crews making progress - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cat Island clean-up crews making progress

Posted: Updated:
  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Smack down on Cancer at the State Theater

    Smack down on Cancer at the State Theater

    Saturday, April 19 2014 11:54 PM EDT2014-04-20 03:54:50 GMT
    Wrestlers from all over Georgia and Florida were in town for the Smack Down on Cancer Event at the state theater. More >>
    Wrestlers from all over Georgia and Florida were in town for the Smack Down on Cancer Event at the state theater. More >>
  • Americus student honored in statewide design contest

    Americus student honored in statewide design contest

    Saturday, April 19 2014 7:59 PM EDT2014-04-19 23:59:05 GMT
    Indira Zelaya, a fourth grader from Sarah Cobb Elementary School in Americus, was honored in Atlanta recently for her artwork supporting Georgia's manufacturing industry.  She was nominated by South GeorgiaMore >>
    Indira Zelaya, a fourth grader from Sarah Cobb Elementary School in Americus, was honored in Atlanta recently for her artwork supporting Georgia's manufacturing industry.  She was nominated by South Georgia Technical College.More >>
  • Swimming pool destroyed after storm

    Swimming pool destroyed after storm

    Saturday, April 19 2014 7:32 PM EDT2014-04-19 23:32:11 GMT
    An Albany man arrived home to find his pool completely destroyed. He's not sure what happened, but the wall caved in and the concrete cracked. He says he's had the siding redone several times.More >>
    An Albany man arrived home to find his pool completely destroyed. He's not sure what happened, but the wall caved in and the concrete cracked. More >>
CAT ISLAND, MS (WLOX) -

About two dozen clean-up workers spent the day Monday picking up small tar balls along the eastern shore of Cat Island. The contractor hired by BP to clean that barrier island has a command center set-up on a barge that's anchored along the north side of the island.

On this week marking the one year anniversary of the oil spill, WLOX News accompanied DEQ representatives on a tour of Cat Island.

As our boat approached from the north, it was easy to spot the beauty of this barrier island. Cat Island is unique because such a large portion of the island is privately owned.

Island houses rebuilt since Katrina can be seen along the canal that cuts through this picturesque getaway.

As he gave a quick tour, Cat Island caretaker Walter Gaudin admits he's loved living here for 11 years.

"It's called serenity," said the elderly man, a big smile across his face.

We found the clean-up crews on the eastern shore. As they've done for many months, workers scoured the sand picking up tar balls.

"Right now on the east phase we have small tar balls. We've collected all the tar mats that were visible, that we could see. And over on the western tip of the island we still have some mats that we're recovering over there," said clean-up supervisor William Pitts.

The shaking machine is called a sand guppy. It sifts the sand, separating the weathered oil.

"Shakes it up and lets the sand fall through and keeps the little pieces on top," said a worker, as he demonstrated the machine.

DEQ supervisor Nick Gatian is pleased with the progress he sees on Cat Island.

"It's been impacted about the same as the other islands. So, they continue to work at it and do the assessments on a routine basis to find where the material is at. And they've got the crews out there, as we saw today, picking it up," he said.

"We pull different amounts off daily. It really depends on the area we're working in and what's uncovered at the time, what we're able to collect," Pitts explained.

Cat Island's caretaker is happy with what's been happening here.

"Great, great.  They're doing a real good job," said Gaudin.

There's no easy answer at to how long the clean-up will continue. The DEQ said until oil material is no longer washing ashore.

"Feel like we're fortunate. Much less than the worst case scenario that we could have had," said Gatian.

BP recently purchased a portion of Cat Island from private owners. The area bought by the oil company includes that eastern shore, where the clean-up crews were working this day.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow