Fist-sized tar ball, West Timbalier Isle, Louisiana, August 16, 2010. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)
Charter fisherman Craig Matherne with tar mat, West Timbalier Isle, Louisiana, August 16, 2010. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)
A soil sample containing tar balls contained 40,834 ppm of TPH.
A soil sample taken near a layer of tar on the beach of West Timbalier Isle contained 60,068 ppm of TPH.
A soil sample taken from another inland lagoon on West Timbalier Isle contained 4,506 ppm of TPH.
Oiled soil within inland lagoon, West Timbalier Isle, Louisiana, August 16, 2010. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)
Open Water in Gulf of Mexico
After leaving the area, Truthout came across a large area out in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately five miles from shore, where emulsified white foam covered the surface.
Emulsified foam and oil in open water between Timbalier Isle and Port Fourchon, Louisiana, August 16, 2010. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)
Fishermen and other journalists across the Gulf have reported to Truthout that this phenomenon is what is left after dispersants have been used to sink surface oil.
A water sample from surface of this area contained 11ppm of TPH. It was taken from an open water area between Timbalier Isle and Port Fourchon at 3:00 PM, on August 16 and the GPS coordinates for the sample are 2902.871N, 9017.421W.
Jonathan Henderson with the Gulf Restoration Network taking water samples in emulsified foam area between Timbalier Isle and Port Fourchon, Louisiana, August 16, 2010. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)
The US Coast Guard claims that no dispersants have been used since mid-July.
Jonathan Henderson, with the nonprofit environmental group Gulf Restoration Network, was on board to witness the sampling, as well as to conduct his own sampling and document what he found.
The hydrocarbon tests conducted on the samples taken by this writer only represent a tiny part of the Gulf compared to the massive area that has been affected by BP's oil catastrophe. A comprehensive sampling regime across the Gulf, taken regularly over the years ahead, is clearly required in order to implement appropriate cleanup responses and take public safety precautions.