Blue Water Task Force, Water Quality, Oil Spill
April 06 2011

Testing Gulf Beaches for Oil and Dispersants

by Mara Dias


The Emerald Coast Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation has been monitoring beach water along the panhandle of Florida since last summer. They are now well into phase II of this program and have begun working with researcher Rip Kirby from the University of South Florida to start monitoring the beaches for evidence of oil contamination in the sand using UV light. 

Project goals include :

  1. Increased accuracy in the identification of oil and dispersant pollution at beaches along Florida's Gulf Coast
  2. Achieve greater public participation in Gulf Coast clean-up efforts with a hands-on educational component
  3. Incorporate data in university-sponsored research to be published in the future.

This 12 minute video explains the science and approach to the UV light sand testing they are performing, while these clips show how oil contaminants are identified at the beach at night.

For current stats and progress on this monitoring efforts visit the Emerald Coast Chapter's website.