Coast Guard continues cleanup, recovery efforts of oily tar balls in Luquillo Beach, Puerto Rico

Coast Guard File Photo

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard pollution response teams continue cleanup efforts and pollution assessments of Luquillo Beach Tuesday, after receiving a report that oily tar balls had been located on the shoreline.

Coast Guard pollutions responders expect to conclude cleanup and recovery efforts to collect oily tar balls on Luquillo Beach Tuesday, after shoreline and offshore cleanup assesments by pollution investigators aboard Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopters and surface units revealed no additional findings of further contamination in the water.

Coast Guard pollution responders will continue to monitor for any additional signs of pollution and are prepared to respond and mitigate any potential future environmental impacts in the area.

“We are working with local and federal partners as well as specialized oil recovery contractors to clean the tar balls from Luquillo Beach,” said Capt. Eduardo Pino, Sector San Juan commander. “The Coast Guard has accessed the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to immediately execute oil and pollution clean-up efforts to mitigate any environmental hazards associated with the contamination.”

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan initially received notification of the oily tar ball report at approximately 3:30p.m. Monday from Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources personnel in Luquillo.

The Coast Guard immediately accessed the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSTLF) to initiate pollution cleanup and recovery efforts after pollution investigators were able to confirm the presence of oily tar balls on the beach Monday afternoon.

Coast Guard pollution response personnel have been conducting ongoing beach assessments and coordinating cleanup and recovery efforts since Monday, while pollution investigators are investigating to determine the cause, origin and responsible party of the contamination.

Anyone who finds any oily tar balls on the beach should immediately contact the Coast Guard Sector San Juan Command Center at 787-289-2041. People should refrain from touching or attempting to pickup any tar balls themselves, if they should happen to come in contact with the material they should wash the area in contact with soap and water.

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