‘Things are looking a lot better’: Coast Guard sees progress on local beaches after oil spill

Local

DEL MAR, Calif. — Nearly two weeks after an oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach, clean-up teams continue to monitor San Diego County beaches for signs of oil.

A crew in protective gear was in Del Mar Thursday morning looking for more of the tar balls that have washed ashore since the spill.

Beachgoers are also finding the sticky pieces of oil.

“There’s no mistaking it. It was right over here in the bundle of seaweed … It’s stuck to me,” said a beachgoer who picked up a tar ball, despite signs urging people to not touch them.

As clean-up crews continue to clean up the spill, U.S. Coast Guard officials say there is significant progress.

“Things are looking a lot better on the beaches. There’s been a dramatic decrease in the number and size of the tar balls that are washing up on shore,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jeannie Shaye.

So far, officials say there is no public health threat and San Diego-area beaches remain open.

Teams have taken water and sediment samples and say Orange County samples do not indicate a public health concern.

Results from San Diego County are expected next week, when officials will have a better idea of how much the spill has impacted our local area.

“Due to the NOAA projections of where the oil spill most likely ventured on water, it is likely that the tar balls that we’re seeing on the shores of San Diego County are from the spill, but we don’t have the exact amount or the exact extent of the shoreline,” Shaye said.

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