FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas—A contracted operator with BP said calls from concerned citizens are falling on deaf ears.
For this story, we’ll refer to her as "Janice."
Janice told 11 News she’s one of 100 operators at the BP Call Center in West Houston. They answer phones from the hotline number designated for the Vessel of Opportunity Program and for cleanup ideas.
"We take all your information and then we have nothing to give them, nothing to give them," said Janice.
Janice said calls about the oil disaster are non-stop and that operators are just warm bodies on the other end of the phone.
"We’re a diversion to stop them from really getting to the corporate office, to the big people," said Janice.
The calls come in from around the world, but it’s the desperation of those on the Gulf Coast that has affected her the most.
"I don't want to get emotional, but it's so frustrating when these people live right there and nothing is being done to help them," the operator said.
For weeks on end, 12 hours a day, there is a little secret that Janice said she has witnessed firsthand.
Because the operators believe the calls never get past them, some don’t even bother taking notes.
"And they just put down, type ‘blah blah blah.’ No information, just ‘blah blah blah,’" Janice admitted.
Janice said she jots down info from every call but feels like it’s doing no good.
"I just feel so bad, but there’s nothing I can do," Janice said.
BP officials said they’ve received more than 200,000 phone messages from the Call Center in Houston, but can’t say just what percentage of calls is returned.
The company argued they use a triage system and the operators are just the first step in the process.
They even did a computer search on the word "blah" and only one instance came up, claiming it was an operator’s polite way of logging a drunk, belligerent caller.
BP officials admitted, though, it’s possible some calls just weren’t logged.