Monday, October 25, 2021

San Diego County Beaches Are Focus of Emergency Shoreline Assessment, Tar Cleanup

Updated 10/12/21 with "Tar Ball Facts." Source: County of San Diego Emergency Updates and Coronado City Manager's Weekly Update

Mission Beach. Photo: Coronado Times

Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment teams will be assessing beaches from Oceanside to San Diego today to guide cleanup operations. The teams will be sampling water, soil and air and testing will occur in the coming days.

Tar balls were discovered today in Mission Beach in San Diego and San Diego regional lifeguards will be monitoring for tar balls and oil. Tar balls were collected Wednesday evening in Oceanside and more were reported Thursday in Carlsbad, Encinitas and Del Mar.

As a precautionary measure, an absorbent boom to protect our waterways has been set up at the mouth of the Santa Margarita River and the Agua Hedionda/Carlsbad Desalinization Plant and will have 24 hour monitoring.

Beaches and waterways remain open, but that could change if a public health threat was determined. If people do encounter oil or tar at the beach, they are advised not to touch or pick it up. Avoid contact with it whenever possible, but occasional brief contact is unlikely to cause significant or lasting health concerns for most people. However, some individuals are especially sensitive to certain chemicals which may be found in oil slicks or tar balls and may therefore develop skin rashes or other reactions as a result. Wash off with regular soap and follow up with your primary care provider if a rash appears.

According to Senator Toni Aktins office, “It’s crucial that you do not come in contact with any tarballs you may see. They contain hazardous chemicals. That cleanup work is for trained Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Teams and contracted cleanup crews equipped in protective gear.”

Coronado Lifeguards and other public safety personnel are monitoring the Coronado beach after tar balls that may be linked to the recent oil spill were found in in San Diego County. The spill is estimated to have caused 144,000 gallons of oil to flow into the ocean off Huntington Beach. Work to contain it is ongoing but it is moving. The County of San Diego has activated its Emergency Operations Center in response to tar balls reportedly discovered in Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas and Del Mar. If Coroando beachgoers see unusual tar balls, please contact Lifeguards at 619-522-7346.

To report tar/oil email: In the email, please include: 1) Date the oil was observed 2) Time the oil was observed 3) Specific location where the oil was observed. GPS coordinates are preferred. 4) Descriptive photos of the oil (Please do not touch it) 5) A short visual/physical description of the oil 6) Estimated quantity 7) Contact information for follow-up.

At this point, there have been no reports of oiled wildlife but if any are observed, do no attempt to touch or help it, please leave it to the professionals and call 1-877-823-6926.

County of San Diego Emergency Operations Center will remain activated to monitor the incident.



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Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is thrilled to call Coronado home and raise her two children here. In her free time enjoys hitting the gym, reading, and walking her dog around the “island.” Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to:
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