Emerald Coast ChapterWe are the beach people. The surfers, paddle boarders, kayakers, fishermen, swimmers, beach runners, and walkers. We are activists who want to protect the ocean environment, and our access to it! The ocean and beaches are our playground! More Details
We took samples 8/12/10, from Okaloosa Island pier, Miramar beach, Blue mtn, Seaside, and Pier park. The samples have arrived in good condition at the lab today, 8/13/10.
Monthly Surfrider chapter meeting tonight, Tuesday, 6pm South Walton County library conference room. We will also have a training session for water testing sample takers. We especially need volunteers for Panama City Beach, Okaloosa Island, and Pensacola. If you would like to help but can’t attend or volunteer, please consider making even a small donation to our water testing fund.
Our lab results from the first round of water testing arrived in the mail today. These samples were collected on July 10th, 2010 at Okaloosa Pier, Miramar Beach, Blue Mountain Beach, and Seaside. DOSS (Dioctyl Sulfosuccinate Sodium Salt) was not detected in any of the samples at greater than or equal to 1ppb.
As with most science, the single experiment clearly does not answer all the questions. But, it does indicate that DOSS was not present in our samples for July 10th.
On the day in question (July 10th) only one sampling location had a visible sheen in the water (Miramar Beach). ( You can review the photos from each location in the photo album on our Facebook page) This testing reinforces our interest in sampling for oil and dispersant simultaneously so that we can better account for what is seen and what is present in the water. It is likely that the sheen visible in Miramar was oil. There is no DEP testing data for this beach on this date, and the DEP has yet to test for DOSS associated with dispersant in Florida. So, we may never know- unless another independent group also sampled here and has yet to report it.
You may recall, that when we submitted these samples, we initially thought the turn around time would be about ten days. After the samples were received by the lab, we were told 4-5 weeks. As our primary interest is public health and safety, we are concerned that timeliness may now have to take priority over sophistication of testing. With this in mind, we have decided to move forward with a new lab closer to home. We now expect to be able to get samples for both oil and dispersant compounds completed in about ten days and at significantly lower cost. (The cost of this first round of analysis of the four samples was $1400 plus $100 shipping) Under the new program we can test for both oil and dispersant for about $200 per sample ($1000 per sampling day with the four prior locations plus Pensacola and Panama City locations) The down side of the new testing program is that we will give up a good bit of the sensitivity of the testing. We will be examining a different compound associated with the dispersants which as yet has been very elusive to detect in water samples. For oil compounds, a Low level PAH method 8270 by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry.
It is our intention to initiate weekly testing. This can provide real data that can help us decide if it is safe to get back in the water. As mentioned earlier, one experiment is insufficient to really know what is present in the water. We encourage everyone to first -use your own senses. Then add that good information to what you know (or do not know) from available testing.
Look at the water. Is a sheen visible? Are dispersant bubbles present on the surface or shore? Is dead marine life present? Are any live marine creatures present? Are birds diving for fish?
Smell the air ,water, and sand for oil scent.
Feel the water. Does it burn your feet? Does it leave a rubbery texture on your skin?
And finally, if you are going in anyway,
Taste the water. Is it foul? Does it stick to the back of your throat? After using your other senses, if you are not sure enough to taste the water, consider not getting in. Both oil and dispersants can cause damage simply through skin contact. If you are surfing, you will have plenty of contact through the skin, eyes, ears, and other parts… and most likely by ingestion as well.
Stay safe, use your senses, and check back with Surfrider as we try our best to help everyone get back to enjoying the ocean we all love.
Here is the link to reserve your seat: http://surfrideremeraldcoast.ticketbud.com/cleanwater