Coast Guard to Oversee Tarball Cleanup on Robert Crown Memorial State Park

ALAMEDA, Calf. – The Coast Guard, working with the Department of Fish and Game, Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR), and East Bay Regional Parks, will oversee the cleanup of tarballs discovered on the Robert Crown Memorial State Beach, today.

At 1:36 p.m., the Coast Guard received a report of tarballs on the beach, and sent a shoreside team to investigate. Coast Guard and state pollution investigators reported finding small pieces of oil throughout a three-quarter mile stretch of beach. The National Response Corporation was contracted by the Coast Guard this afternoon, and will begin cleanup efforts today. The oil appears as dime to half dollar size tar balls containing fresh and runny oil. The tar balls cover approximately 1 % of a 1.5-foot wide band of beach extending 1/4 mile along the beach.

“The health and safety of everyone who uses the Alameda beaches is the first priority of all agencies involved in cleanup efforts,” said Lieutenant Commander Gus Bannan, Chief of the Coast Guard’s Incident Management Division.

Samples of the oil have been taken by East Bay Regional Parks, OSPR, and the Coast Guard. The source of the oil has yet to be determined and is under investigation. The type of oil and the potential source will be determined by thorough analysis of those samples.

If beach goers encounter oil on the shoreline, they are offered the following tips:

Avoid direct skin contact with the oil. If you get oil or tarballs on your skin, wash it off with soap and water. Take basic precautions, such as washing your hands before eating, to avoid ingesting any oil. If you get oil on clothing, wash it in the usual way. There is no need to use harsh detergents, solvents or other chemicals to wash oil from skin or clothing, and the use of such materials is discouraged.

Department of Fish and Game officials are concerned about the sensitive salt marsh habitat which supports endangered species, including the Clapper Rail seabird, and are employing protective strategies to minimize impacts to a nearby bird sanctuary.

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