There’s some serious speculation that old oil from the 2010 BP / Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf could get churned up from the seafloor, and exposed by erosion of beaches and marshes, as a result of Hurricane Isaac’s wind and wave action. And as we’ve seen in past storms, new leaks and spills can occur from storm-pummeled platforms, pipelines, storage tanks and other facilities.
If you do see what you think could be a leak or spill of oil or hazardous materials, please report it to the National Response Center. This is the nation’s official front-line agency for collecting and distributing information about pollution incidents. You can report via their website or by calling their toll-free hotline, 1-800-424-8802. If your report to the NRC includes a good description of the location of your sighting (we love latitude/longitude coordinates, but the nearest street address is also useful) then we’ll be able to grab it from the NRC and put it on our SkyTruth Alerts map, so everyone can see your report.
If you think you’ve observed oil pollution, you can also submit a report on the Gulf Oil Spill Tracker site for all to see. Including some photos with your Spill Tracker report is a great way to document possible new spills or the re-deposition of old BP oil, and helps validate your report.
But above all, be safe. Please don’t go out chasing oil spills in hazardous conditions. Plenty of time for that after Isaac has moved on and the danger has passed.