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Tar Balls Wash Up on Bay Area Beaches

A park ranger first spotted tar balls washed up on Pacifica State Beach Monday morning. By Monday afternoon, contracted clean-up crew had collected several gallon bags of dollar-sized tar balls but reports of more tarballs were coming in from several other Bay Area beaches. While clean-up crews scoured beaches early this week, Coast Guard helos did fly-overs in an effort to spot more contamination and find the source.

Many wondered if the tar balls were remnants of the Cosco Busan spill in November but authorities quickly squashed that notion. And lab results confirmed it: they’re the result of natural seepage from the ocean floor near Monterey. In fact, similar tar balls washed up on Monterey beaches last February. As of this morning, about 40 gallons of the goo has been collected.

Meanwhile, clean-up crews are back at it today on a number of beaches, including Pacifica and Moss Beach. As with the Cosco Busan spill, the public should report any fouled wildlife to the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito at 415-289-SEAL.

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