Coast Guard works with partner agencies to clean up tar balls near Corpus Christi

Coast Guard 8th District NewsCORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Crews from Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi, in conjunction with Texas General Land Office and Nueces County representatives, are responding to the discovery of tar balls that washed ashore at Bob Hall Pier, Thursday.

Nueces County parks crews discovered tar balls on the beach near Bob Hall Pier at approximately 9 a.m. Investigators from the Coast Guard and Texas General Land Office worked with representatives from Nueces County to assess the situation. The Coast Guard opened the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to contract Corpus Christi Area Oil Spill Control Association to clean up the tar balls.

The Coast Guard launched a MH-65C Dolphin helicopter and crew from Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi to conduct an over flight of North Padre Island and found the impact of the tar balls to be limited to the vicinity of Bob Hall Pier.

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.

The source of the pollution is under investigation.

There has been no disruption to tourism and all Nueces County parks remain open. Crews will continue to patrol and clean up as necessary.

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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