Local News

Aug 7, 2013 12:52 PM by Sara Donchey

Coast Guard Called to Clean Tar Balls from Local Beaches

CORPUS CHRISTI -- Tar balls that washed up on a 20-mile stretch of Coastal Bend beaches yesterday are being cleaned up and tested by the Coast Guard with the help of private companies.

Yesterday's tar-smattered beaches were likely a result of soaring temperatures rather than pollution, according to Lieutenant Commander Brendan Evans of the US Coast Guard.

Evans also noted that the Coast Guard, in conjunction with other contractors such as Miller Environmental, is able to determine the origin of the tar samples they collect from the beach.

"it's kind of like a fingerprint," said Evans. "if we can match (the sample) to any of our records we can trace it back to a source. We do investigations and prosecute if we find someone has been dumping bilge oil illegally."

Although naturally-occurring tar balls are not determined to pose any health risks, the Coast Guard urges the public not to attempt to clean tar up themselves. Anyone who discovers tar patties is asked to call the National Response center at 1-800-424-8802.

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