From Sarah Netter:
Like a relief pitcher sent in to save the game, a new clean-up crew has arrived on the beaches of Grand Isle, Louisiana.
In operation for just over a week, the “sandboni” has been a welcome sight to Grand Isle authorities and to BP as a group of six machines motor up and down the beach skimming oily sand from the surface and dumping it in large piles to be disposed of later.
Though there are other private beach cleaners in operation along the Gulf, these are the only BP-owned machines in the Gulf, according to Gordy Stahl, specialist with Cherrington Beach Services, located in — of all places – North Dakota.
Stahl said the sandbonis' day job in other locales is to skim cigarette butts and bottle caps off the beach.
“On a good day we can almost do a full mile of the beach,” Stahl said. “On an average day I’m going to say half to three-quarters.”
That’s a stark contrast to the workers, many of them donning full plastic bodysuits, who can only work for about a half-hour at a time before the heat forces them to seek shade and water. But Stahl was quick to point out that the sandbonis aren’t meant to replace the workers, especially in a place like Grand Isle that is short on jobs.
“We compliment each other,” Stahl said. “They get the areas that are difficult for us because of terrain variances, etc., and we get the areas that, where the parts are bigger, the pieces are bigger and more spread out.”
– Sarah Netter