As we were leaving an oil spill public forum in Fort Walton Beach yesterday we passed several men standing around a picnic table.
Curious, we stopped and asked what they were doing.
They gave us this demonstration.
Here's the story I've written for www.northwestflorida.com about Otis and his discovery.
Oil Removal - It's As Simple As Hay
Otis Goodson has discovered what could potentially be the saving Grace for the Gulf of Mexico.
And it’s as simple as hay.
Otis was in his barn, thinking about the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill and wondering what he could do to help.
Looking around, he began to wonder if the hay in his barn could be used to soak up oil.
He had a large vat filled with used oil drained from his farm equipment. He dropped some hay into the vat, stirred the hay around and scooped it back out realizing the hay had absorbed a large amount of oil.
He then filled an empty vat with clean water, mixed in several gallons of oil, added hay and stirred it around with a pitchfork.
He lifted the hay out of the vat and found that the hay had completely absorbed all of the oil, leaving clean water behind.
Upon discovering hay’s oil absorbing qualities he immediately began contacting the US Coast Guard and BP officials about his discovery.
Early Tuesday morning he traveled to the Joint Oil Response Center in Mobile, Alabama and presented his findings to Coast Guard and BP officials.
To the amazement of officials present, Otis demonstrated the ability of hay to soak up oil and almost completely remove it from the water.
According to Otis, neither the Coast Guard nor BP officials have seen this before.
Tuesday afternoon, Otis was in Okaloosa County waiting outside of the latest public forum to show his discovery to Secretary Michael Sole of the Florida DEP, Senator Don Gaetz, Representative Matt Gaetz, Okaloosa county officials and a BP representative.
As of 6:15 pm, according to Otis, there are 4 semi trucks in South Walton county filled with hay and ready to go.
As of approximately 8:00 pm, Walton County officials announced an oil recovery plan using hay on Walton County beaches.