Tar balls wash ashore near South Padre Island

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

A watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi received a call at 1:15 p.m. reporting that balls of tar were discovered on a local beach. It is estimated that 5% of an eight-mile-stretch of beach, which begins one mile south of the Brownsville Ship Channel and continues north, has been affected.

Coast Guard and the Texas General Land Office crews are on the scene and have determined that the safest method to remove the tar from the beach is with shovels. Chemical Response and Remediation Contractors (CRRC) has been contracted to conduct the clean up. The recovery operation is expected to be completed by July 24, 2009.

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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