The Associated Press June 10, 2010, 8:24AM ET

BP builds self-sustaining village for workers

It's not home sweet home, but it's not bad.

BP has transformed a scrub-covered lot into a small village that will let workers cleaning up the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill have a place to sleep, shower, eat and even enjoy some recreation.

"It only took six days to take this from brushy field to a village," Joseph Futch, the Belle Chase subcontractor who oversaw the work, said on Wednesday. "We were in a hurry to get these people a place to live so they can get to cleaning up the oil spill."

The 32-acre site on Louisiana Highway 23 has been cleared, drained, raised four feet and equipped with both tents and trailers to accommodate upward of 2,000 workers.

The Venice Responders Village has passed all the parish and state inspections and is ready to start receiving residents, Futch said.

The 1,452 workers who will stay at the site have been scattered at other locations around Venice, said BP spokesman Michael Abendhoff -- including the 667 Louisiana residents who are living at home.

"It's just like working on the rigs," Futch said. "If they live 50 miles or more away, their housing here is covered."

BP did not have the cost of the village available yet, but Futch said it was a substantial undertaking.

Besides the housing trailers -- long boxes with floor to ceiling bunks -- shower trailers, tankers of water for the showers, and huge tents for dining and recreation, there are rows of generators, outdoor lights and systems to capture wastewater.

There is an onsite laundry where people can drop off dirty clothes and pick them up later, cleaned and folded.

The area where the village is located was raised four feet to prevent flooding when it rains. A medical center and landing space for helicopters is also on site.

Work has begun to add city sewage, water and lights. Futch said the entire project should be completed in 30 to 90 days.

How long the village will be in use is not known, Abendhoff said. But when the cleanup ends, he said it will be donated to the parish.


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