"Pensacola Beach, Florida -- The search for underwater oil in local waterways is over, and preliminary results show no recoverable oil was found, Coast Guard officials said Wednesday. But that doesn't mean there are no tar balls still washing up on the beaches of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. And it doesn't mean oil in tiny particles is not present.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist Dr. Janet Baran said much of the oil still in the Gulf and waterways is in parts per billion. At that point, you're not looking at how to recover the particles but how to restore the Gulf to pre-oil spill condition, she said.
The Subsurface Oil Assessment monitoring program, led by the NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard for BP Incident Command in Mobile, focused only on recoverable oil in bays and areas out three miles into the Gulf.
Teams searched only in depths of water 6 feet and deeper, said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Mark Boivin, deputy director for near-shore operations at BP's Unified Command Center in Mobile.
"We were looking just for subsurface oil and not the (kind) of oil at Barrancas," Boivin said, referring to an area in shallow water off Pensacola Naval Air Station where BP cleanup crews continue to recover thousands of pounds of weathered oil sunk into the sand in Pensacola Bay."
Christopher Collette reports for WTSP 10 News (Tampa Bay)