Grayton has lots of underground utilities including TV/internet cables, gas lines, phone lines, and electrical lines. Before you DIG please call 811 annd the companies will come out and mark where the lines are. There is no cost for this service.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Walton County Meeting on Oil

(From Walton Sun)

SANTA ROSA BEACH — As tar balls washed ashore on Walton County’s beaches, a standing-room-only crowd met Thursday for a town hall meeting to discuss the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Local officials and representatives from BP and the Unified Command fielded questions that area residents have been begging to have answered.
“All the information we’ve been getting before just raises more questions,” Janet Hardy of Santa Rosa Beach said before the meeting at Coastal Branch Library. “I want to gather as many detailed facts so I can form my own opinion on if living here is safe.”

Santa Rosa Beach resident Don Fogila said he has had many issues with the handling of the oil spill since April.
“There’s really been a credibility issue,” Fogila said. “We have property in this area, so what affects this area affects my life and everything I’ve worked for.”
Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson told the crowd that not only would their questions be answered, but hopefully results would be seen.
“What we’re dealing with is going to be an ongoing process,” Adkinson said. “I’m going to do my best, though, to make sure you are informed.”
Among the coveted answers given were test results for water and air quality, which sparked a lot of discussion.
While the air-quality tests showed results typical for this time of year, the water results were mixed.
According to tests performed June 22 through the Department of Environmental Protection, no petroleum contaminants were found in the water. Results from a water sample taken one meter away from a visible tar ball on June 22 showed trace levels of petroleum-related compounds, but the reports indicate no health exposure benchmark was exceeded.
Hands were raised asking officials if the water is safe to swim in and if the beach is safe to walk on.
“If you see tar balls in the water, I wouldn’t get in there,” said DEP representative Darryl Boudreau. “The data is telling us that if you can see an impact, don’t get in.”
Audience members asked to see more advisories and “swim at your own risk” notices rather than notices stating the water is fine for swimming.
“We’re putting people at risk here when we don’t know the answer,” said Ed Berry with Reclaim Our America. “Instead of saying everything’s safe and the waters are open, let them know it’s swim at your own risk.
“We need to be truthful in our statements.”
Officials also discussed skimmer boats out in Destin and requests for additional booms. They also gave an assurance from officials that BP dollars, which have not been handed to the county yet, will come soon.
Adkinson assured the audience that, from the Sheriff’s Office standpoint, the safety of Walton County citizens and the environment will continue to be a top priority.
“As of today, we’ve been lucky,” Adkinson said. “I’ll be honest with you; it can get a whole hell of a lot worse.”

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