Florida Deepwater Horizon Response July 16, 2010

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TALLAHASSEE – Under the leadership of Governor Charlie Crist, the State Emergency Response Team and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are actively coordinating and responding to the Deepwater Horizon incident.

The following is a summary of state and BP response actions to date, as well as health effects and fisheries and seafood updates.

On Site Actions:
•         Currently Deepwater Horizon is not discharging any oil into the Gulf of Mexico.  BP has begun conducting the well integrity test, which is being closely monitored. Learn More.
•         During the well integrity test, operations on the first relief well have been temporarily stopped, as a precaution, while the well was at 17,840 feet. Operations on the second relief well have been temporarily suspended at 15,874 feet to ensure there is no interference with the first relief well. Learn more.

State Actions:
•         The State Emergency Operations Center is activated at Level 1.
•         The State Emergency Response Team continues to focus on removing oil from the water and mitigating impacts to Florida’s shoreline.
•         Three Florida branch offices are fully operational in Northwest Florida and a fourth branch office will open today in Port St. Joe.
•         BP claimants should be aware of potential online or local claims scams. Report suspected claims fraud to 1-877-359-6281.
DEP continues to conduct water sampling monitoring to establish baseline conditions throughout the state. Learn more about sampling and results at www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/water.htm.
DEP’s Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas is conducting water sampling under the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process. Learn more.
•         Real-time sampling data from statewide air quality monitoring can be viewed at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/air.htm. Air quality reports for July 15 revealed that air quality was considered good for ozone and moderate for fine particulate concentrations in Northwest Florida. “Good” means the air quality is satisfactory and air pollution poses little or no risk. “Moderate” means air quality is acceptable for most people.

Landfall Reports and Predictions:
•         Tar balls, tar mats and light sheen continue to be reported in Northwest Florida. View the latest reconnaissance reports here.
•         Continued impacts will be possible in Northwest Florida over the next 72 hours.
•         Five state-leased skimmers continue to operate in Northwest Florida to protect sensitive inland water bodies. These skimmers are operating at the passes in Escambia, Okaloosa, Bay, Gulf and Franklin Counties.
•         Nearly 90 percent of Florida’s more than 1,260 miles of coastline remains unimpacted.
•         If oil is sighted on Florida’s coastline report it to the State Warning Point at 1-877-2-SAVE-FL (1-877-272-8335) or by dialing #DEP from most cell phones.
•         Pensacola Pass as well as Perdido Pass will continue to be closed with the tide to reduce the amount of oil entering inland waters. These waterways are manned to allow access to necessary vessel traffic and are open for vessel traffic during low tide. See NOAA tide predictions.
•         Observations by NOAA continue to indicate no significant amounts of oil moving toward the Loop Current. The Loop Current Ring, a circular current which was formerly part of the Loop Current provides no clear path for oil to enter the Florida Straits.
•         There have been no reports of Deepwater Horizon oil spill-related products reaching the shore beyond the Northwest Florida region. There is no indication that the rest of the state will have impacts from weathered oil products within the next 72 hours.
A tropical wave in the central Caribbean Sea has a 10 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours.
Boom Placement:
•         Approximately 475,600 feet of hard boom and 8,580 feet of sorbent boom have been placed in Northwest Florida along the most sensitive areas. Additionally, counties in the region are moving forward with supplemental booming plans. As of July 15, 316,261 feet of supplemental boom has been deployed or staged by Florida contractors.

Health Effects:
Oil Impact Notices are posted for all Escambia County and Walton County Gulf beaches, as well as designated beaches in Okaloosa County. Signs may remain in place until local authorities determine that beaches are no longer impacted by the oil spill. Learn more.
•         If residents or visitors see tar or oiled debris on the beach, DO NOT PICK IT UP. For most people, an occasional brief contact with a small amount of oil will not cause any harm, however it is not recommended. Learn more.

Fisheries & Seafood:
•         The current federal fisheries closure in the Gulf of Mexico measures 83,927 square miles. This leaves approximately 65 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. This federal closure does not apply to any state waters. Learn more.
•         A portion of coastal state waters offshore of Escambia County is closed to the harvest of saltwater fish, crabs and shrimp. Learn more.
•         To report oiled wildlife, please call 1-866-557-1401. For the safety of the public as well as the safety of animals, rescues should only be conducted by trained responders. Learn more.
•         Visit http://bpdecon.com for a list of vessel decontamination locations for oiled boats within the U.S. Coast Guard Mobile Sector.

Learn More About Florida’s Response:
•         Visit www.deepwaterhorizonflorida.com to learn more about Florida’s response to the Deepwater Horizon incident, sign up for daily updates, view tips for businesses and consumers, find a listing of Unified Command, BP and Florida phone numbers, and more.
•         The Oil Spill Information Line is available at 1-888-337-3569 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. seven days a week. Persons with disabilities can contact 1-800-955-8771 (TDD) or 1-800-955-8770 (voice).


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