It was an unexpected discovery over the holiday weekend. Tar balls found on Bolivar Penninsula and Galveston’s East Beach were confirmed to be from the ruptured oil well that’s been spewing crude since April 20th. Captain Marcus Woodring is Coast Guard sector commander for Houston-Galveston.
“Saturday, we picked the ten to twelve ping-pong sized ones over on Crystal Beach, Sunday we picked up about seven gallons total, between Crystal Beach east end of Galveston Island. Monday, we got some tar mats over on McFadden Beach, over near Port Arthur, and then I understand there were some other small tar balls on Galveston Beach and those are being cleaned up as well.”
He says the makeup of the oil was inconsistent with having traveled more than 400 miles in the Gulf of Mexico.
“We’d like to determine the source to figure out if we had a one-time incident where a vessel came and maybe dropped some ballast that contained the oil and that’s the source, or the other scenario is if it came via Mother Nature and along in the currents then, we have the precursor of more tar balls coming.”
Officials continue to narrow down how the oil came to shore, but Woodring says they’re preparing for more just in case, and ready to clean it up.
“We have plenty of people to pick up tar balls on the beach. I’d be derelict in my duty if I didn’t have my people out there working this issue with the state of Texas, to ensure that the cleanups are being done properly, and also out there on patrol looking for more tar balls.”
It has cost about $40-thousand dollars for collecting 15 gallons of tar balls since Sunday. BP has said it will pay for cleanup.
Pat Hernandez, KUHF News.