April 20, 2010, it's a day many will never forget; the Deepwater Horizon oil spill released 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, and although many efforts have been made to clean it up, researchers are still seeing it's effects a thousand days later.
Day 1000 is more than just a number for Susan Forsyth, a volunteer with the National Surfrider Foundation. "If I look back 1000 days ago, I would have never imagined we'd be on this beautiful stretch of the Emerald Coast having this discussion." She adds.
Forsyth and other researchers are still finding oil along the Gulf, specifically Walton County. Since the summer of 2010 the local Surfrider Foundation dedicated itself to monitoring our coastline.
In a recent meeting, the US Coast Guard reports BP removed 30,395 pounds oil from Florida's coast in 2012, and so far, Forsyth says her group has already filed 26 reports in the past month.
"We want to hold them accountable for what happened here along the Gulf." Forsyth says.
Tarballs of MC252, specific to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig located just 200 miles from Walton County beaches, were found after both Hurricane Issac and Tropical Storm Debby. Sea foam found on the sides of homes from Louisiana to Destin also contained the same PAH compounds. Researchers also confirmed traces of MC252 around ponds containing sheen.
"So here we have this persistent oil and that is a huge concern. That's 1000 days later we are still having significant impact along the Gulf." Forsyth says.
The Coast Guard signed off on a majority of the beaches stretching from Bay to Walton County, but with continuous effort by the Surfrider Foundation and other researchers, the question remains, how clean are our beaches?
To report tar found: call the National Response Center at (800) 424-8802
What does BP oil look like?
The Coast Guard could not be reached for comment.
A judge recently approved the BP medical settlement to pay for those who became ill during or after the spill. Impacted individuals must have been on our coast for 60 days between April 20 and the end of 2010, details can be found here.