USCG Investigating Source of Pollution
In a press release, the US Coast Guard (USCG) announced that they have begun investigating the source of mysterious tar balls that have been found along the New Jersey shoreline. The USCG was first notified about the tar balls on Tuesday morning and immediately dispatched personnel to the area.
Tar Balls Found Near Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park
The tar balls, ranging in size from approximately 1–2 inches and smaller, were discovered in an approximately 6-mile stretch near Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park. The state Department of Environmental Protection and Monmouth County officials also joined in the investigation to identify the source of pollution.
Efforts to Assess and Clean Up
Investigators conducted a fly-over on Tuesday to locate the source of the tar balls but were unable to spot any oil sheen on the surface of the water. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tar balls are formed when crude oil on the surface of the ocean gets shaped into balls by wind and waves. They can result from both oil spills and natural oil seeps from the ocean floor.
The USCG stated that crews are currently working to collect samples of the tar balls and have started clean-up efforts along the popular beaches of the Jersey Shore. The Coast Guard has opened the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to initiate response actions quickly, and an oil spill removal organization (OSRO) is assessing and cleaning up the shoreline.
Warnings to the Public
Authorities have advised beach goers and mariners to avoid contact with the tar balls. If anyone notices any tar balls or oil sheen in the area, they are encouraged to contact the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.