WDAY: The News Leader

Published September 02, 2010, 08:53 AM

Local crew helps clean up oil covered beaches

Moorhead, Minn. (WDAY TV) - A young Moorhead man is getting a rare glimpse at the oil impacted gulf coast, a result of the BP oil spill. At the same time, he’s helping solve a major problem there: Oil covered beaches. He's a part of a local crew sent to three different coastal areas to clean up oil. He's using big equipment and making a big difference.

Jordan: “A lot of oil still there. Each day is different and different amounts wash up.”

There are unbelievable pictures of areas once attracting gobs of tourists. Now these beaches are filled with workers trying to get out gobs of oil.

Jordan” “Some spots of oil are so hard, they turn into asphalt.”

21-year old Jordan Hanson is one of them.

Jordan: “Some days drag a little.”

The Moorhead High School graduate mans one of these beasts in Grand Isle Louisiana, 12 hours a day, and sometimes seven days a week.

Jordan: “When you're there, it actually hits you how serious it all is.”

The fleet of Cherrington beach cleaners, which look like “zambonis” for sand, has helped BP make major progress. In its rush to respond to the crisis, BP asked the Jamestown based company to supply operators.

Mike McPherson/Cherrington Beach Cleaners: “First time to Grand Isle. I was not sure if could do it. It was worse than thought.”

The first of 27 men, most of them local, headed down the beginning of June. Jordan joined them in August.

Jordan: “Opportunity to do something never done.”

One week a month he can visit home on BP's dime. The pay isn't bad either: 23-28 dollars an hour, plus overtime.

Mike: “Some guys are making $2,000 dollars a week.”

Jordan: “Makes you feel good each day. You know when you’re done; you can look back and feel good.”

Jordan's seeing the benefit for people on the coast and proud a Moorhead kid and North Dakota company can be a part of it. McPherson expects his cleaners, which are in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, will be working on the coast through the end of the year. He says although they have cleaned the top layers of sand, there is more oil underneath. One of those Cherrington Model 5000 machines costs $120,000 dollars.