Alex damages new oil barrier at Perdido Pass

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 2, 2010

ORANGE BEACH (AP) — Six-foot waves from Hurricane Alex have damaged a new, $4.6 million system meant to prevent oil from flowing into Perdido Bay.

The structure is composed of more than 3,000 feet of long steel pipes that are strung together in Perdido Pass between dozens of pilings in Orange Beach.

But the city’s coastal resources manager, Phillip West, said Thursday about 800 feet of the protective system began coming apart when thick bolts started shearing off in heavy seas. Workers took apart other sections to prevent further damage to the system, which wasn’t yet finished.

West says the steel booms should be back in place with thicker bolts by Saturday. He says not much additional oil entered the bay because of the failure.