Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tar Balls Discovered on Orange Beach, Alabama

Tar balls were found washed ashore on Orange Beach in Alabama because of the heavy surf kicked up by Tropical Storm Lee.

According to Mayor of Orange Beach Tony Kennon, the surf was the heaviest seen in the area since last year's Gulf oil spill.

In 2010, oil from the BP spill washed ashore and stained many Gulf Coast beaches.

Kennon did say that many of the reported tar balls are very small � ranging from the size of a marble to nearly the size of a baseball � and that the Alabama Department of Environmental Management is trying to assess the situation. Plans are in motion to test the black tar balls in order to find if they are linked to last year�s oil spills.

According to CBS News, Brandon Franklin, the coastal plans manager for the city of Gulf Shores, said officials are collecting samples that will be sent to Auburn University for testing.

BP is also sending survey teams to conduct assessments along coastal beaches as a result of Lee. If necessary, BP will send additional response crews to deal with affected areas.

Grant Brown, a spokesman for the city of Gulf Shores, told CBS News that the situation does not appear to be as bad as 2010, but added, �It confirms our fear that there are tar mats just offshore and that we may have more tar coming in whenever there's a storm.�

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