SAN DIEGO — San Diego County officials confirmed tar balls were found at Mission Beach Friday, possibly due to the massive oil spill in Orange County.
Unified Command operations announced more than 900 people were assigned Friday to shoreline cleanup assessment teams, looking for tar balls and signs of oil from the leak.
The discovery comes a day after tar balls were found Thursday at North County beaches.
“I have personally not seen anything,” one beachgoer said. “And I see a lot of people in the water. Anywhere that it happens whether here or up there, it’s a concern.”
Crews have been collecting tar balls along the shoreline of Carlsbad while keeping a keen eye out for any possible oil sheen that might demand a more robust cleanup effort. Across the river mouth opening at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon, an oil boom skimmer has been deployed to attempt to keep surface oil from entering the delicate lagoon ecosystem.
According to the South California Response Team, to date, 5,544 total gallons of crude oil and 13 barrels of tar balls were recovered.
County officials say lifeguards will continue to watch out for oil deposits while teams will take water, soil and air samples for testing in the coming days. The county is also advising residents to exercise caution if encountering tar balls on the beach.
“Based on increased reports of tar balls washing ashore on North County beaches, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency is advising residents to exercise caution at local beaches and to avoid contact if tar balls are seen,” the county said on their website.
If contact occurs, the body area should be thoroughly cleaned with soap and water or other skin-safe cleaners.
“Do not use degreasers, cleaning solutions or solvents as they may damage the skin further,” the county advised. “If a significant rash or other reaction occurs, consult your primary care provider.”