Galveston tar balls are from spill, tests show
HOUSTON — Test results have confirmed tar balls found on a second Texas beach are from the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, U.S. Coast Guard officials said Tuesday.
The tar balls were found on vegetation that had washed up on a Galveston beach last week, Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Lionel Bryant said.
Tar balls located July 5 on McFaddin Beach, a stretch of coast east of the Bolivar Peninsula, were the first confirmation that crude from the massive BP oil spill had reached Texas shores.
Officials had initially said tar balls found July 3 on Bolivar were the first evidence that the gushing crude from the oil spill had reached Texas. But last week, a more detailed analysis of those tar balls determined that most weren’t from the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon rig.
About 1,400 gallons of sand and vegetation that has tar balls and other oil-like materials have been collected over the past week, mostly from Bolivar and McFaddin Beach. “A good percentage of this material is still waiting to be tested,” Bryant said.
Officials are also awaiting test results to determine if the tar balls found on Galveston and McFaddin Beach arrived with the currents or if they might have been brought by a vessel that worked at the spill site.
“It’s not unusual to get tar balls (naturally). It hasn’t impacted folks wanting to go to the beach. All the beaches are open,” Bryant said.