Galve­ston tar balls are from spill, tests show

Austin American-Statesman - - WORLD & NATION -

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.

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