Gasoline barrels wash ashore along Scenic Hwy. 98

Matt Algarin
Crews could be seen Sunday collecting gasoline barrels that had washed ashore near the Cabana Club along Scenic Hwy. 98.

It’s not odd to see items wash ashore in Destin, but when they are large, filled with liquid and there are close to a dozen of them, it’s a little strange.

Especially when men in hazmat suits are spotted along the beach collecting the containers, as was pointed out to The Log on its Facebook page by a local resident who snapped a few pictures of the situation and posted them to social media.

First responders from the Destin Fire Control District responded to a call about 6:45 a.m. Sunday related to a “hazardous materials incident” Fire Chief Kevin Sasser told The Log Monday. The barrels were located on the beach near 3450 Scenic Hwy. 98.

“Once we arrived, we determined the barrels were not leaking and therefore not an immediate public hazard,” he wrote in an email. “We requested the assistance of the sheriff’s office, DEP (Department of Environmental Protection), Coast Guard and a few others.”

Sasser said the scene was turned over to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office and the DEP.

Michele Nicholson, public information officer for the OCSO, told The Log that she is unsure where the barrels came from, but confirmed they held gasoline. She said the situation is currently under investigation.

Hazmat crews were brought out to handle the containers, which were ultimately turned over to the DEP.

Mara Burger, a public information specialist for the DEP, said the containers had washed in with the tide, but had not been in the water long and were in “very good condition.”

Burger said 10 of the barrels tested positive for gasoline, while one tested positive for trace amounts of a plant sterol, which she noted is on the Drug Enforcement Agencies “list of chemicals of interest” and was transported to a DEA warehouse.

The remainder of the barrels were transported to a DEP hazardous waste storage facility where they await disposal.