Coast Guard, T&T Marine, Texas General Land Office respond to tar ball found on Texas coast

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TEXAS CITY, Texas — Coast Guard members partnered with T&T Marine and Texas General Land Office specialists to clean up a naturally occurring tar ball that was discovered on Surfside Beach near Freeport Monday.

A beachgoer contacted the National Response Center to report that a large tar ball had washed ashore. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Texas City responded with personnel from their Incident Management Division.

Tar ball on the beach

Tar ball on the beach

Tar balls are not uncommon along the Gulf Coast and are formed when an accumulation of thick oil is battered by wave action until it breaks apart in the form of small round clumps. Tar balls are generally not associated with fresh oil, rather, they are usually the result of oil that has been present in the water for some time.  Oil or tar balls suspected to be from a spill are tested to see if they match the suspected source.

Anyone discovering tar balls or pollution is asked to immediately contact the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802. The Coast Guard and its partner agencies strongly urge the public not to attempt to clean up any pollution. If contact occurs, wash the area with soap and water, baby oil or a widely used, safe cleaning compound such as the cleaning paste sold at auto parts stores. Avoid using solvents, kerosene, diesel fuel or similar products on the skin as these products, when applied to skin, present a greater health hazard than the oil.

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