Saturday, May 1, 2010

Oil Spill day 11: Smell of Petrol Arrives First to Florida Coast by Deborah Dolen (AFP/Getty Images)

Oil Spill Day 11: Smell of Petrol Arrives First to Florida Coast by Deborah Dolen (AFP/Getty Images.)

As far as the smell of the Gulf Oil Spill, it has already arrived on Florida shores. “I smell gas or propane” these type of phone calls to emergency services are rapidly increasing down the Florida coast, most interestingly as far south as Naples, FL. Residents are also describing the smell as turpentine, burnt rubber or roach spray. The question is, are Florida residents really smelling the gas spill hundreds of miles away or is it a psychological adoption just knowing the oil spill is “out there?” It is real reports the Florida Department of Environmental Protection who says, “although the smell is unpleasant it is not dangerous.”

As early as April 27th, Bay News 9 in Tampa, FL reported dozens of viewers calling in or e-mailing asking about “the smell.” They've described it as turpentine, burnt rubber or roach spray. Residents also have been calling St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue. Lt. Joel Grenata said several people have called in emergency gas leaks. W hen fire crews arrive, they can't find anything wrong.

About the same time emergency officials were getting calls in Naples, FL about the same phenomenon. Again the Naples emergency crews would arrive to find no leak. All Noah Standridge, of North Naples, needed to do was open his front door Tuesday afternoon. After a quick check to make sure his car wasn’t leaking fluids, Standridge realized the smell was coming from beyond his house. “The first thing I thought of was that oil rig out there,” he said.

If this spill is anything like the Timor Oil Spill off Australia’s coast, it will take about ten weeks to patch. The good news is that the type of oil is not a heavy oil as with the Exxon Valdez. Environmentalist feel the warm water, strong sunlight will degrade the oil much faster than in other types of spills. Ed Overton, a professor emeritus of environmental sciences at Louisiana State University and oil spill expert said “If you had to pick an oil to spill, this would be it.”
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  1. The Georgia forest fires in 2006-2007 were much like this phenomenon. Smoke left a fog over much of Florida for days. Upon waking up every morning it looked like neighbors were barbequing all the way down to Sarasota.

  2. Any updates on the smell in Florida? Where in Florida are the smells?

    Any EYEWITNESS accounts of the distance of the spill from Florida shores

  3. I think the smells were psychological in mid FL for sure. Now Naples, they already have tar balls so they were not kidding. I live just below Tampa on Sarasota Bay and there is no smell. But the psychological impacts is what I found interesting. The same amount of people were calling emergency services down the coast. Only the lower portion probably had a smell.