Coast Guard response to tar balls near South Padre Island continues

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Brownsville personnel and state and local officials today continue to respond to the discovery of tar balls that washed ashore on beaches near South Padre Island, July 22, 2009.

Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife crews are on scene working together to assess the situation.

Chemical Response and Remediation Contractors CRRC has been contracted to conduct the clean up. CRRC dispatched a crew of 14 workers to clean up today and plans to send an additional crew of 8 people tomorrow.

It is estimated that 400 gallons to 500 gallons of tar and sand have been recovered so far.

The recovery operation is expected to be completed by July 25, 2009 with 1000 gallons of tar recovered.

Approximately 1/3 of the tar was reclaimed by the ocean last night as a result of the incoming tide.

It is estimated that 1% of an eight-mile-stretch of beach, which begins one mile south of the Brownsville Ship Channel and continues north, is now affected.

Tar balls are formed when an accumulation of thick oil is battered by wave action until it breaks apart in the form of small round clumps.

There have been no reports of injury to people or animals.

The source of the tar is under investigation.

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