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Shoreline assessment teams, cleanup crews search North County beaches for tar balls

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Posted at 3:58 PM, Oct 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-11 22:22:35-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The U.S. Coast Guard asks beachgoers in San Diego County to be aware of more tar balls possibly washing up local beaches due to weather changes and high surf.

Monday, the National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory from noon to 8 AM Tuesday for San Diego and Orange County Coastal areas.

After the massive oil spill in Orange County, people locally have reported seeing tar balls washing up on San Diego County beaches, and now crews are going through eight beaches in the North County, looking for more. Those beaches include Oceanside Pier, Carlsbad City Beach, Batiquitos Lagoon, Encinitas Beach, Cardiff Beach, San Elijo Beach, Solana State Beach, and South Ponto Beach.

“We’ve had our shoreline assessment teams out, so they’re conducting a preassessment of the beaches to kind of determine which areas to concentrate our cleanup efforts in,” said Lt. Aidan Leddy-Phillips with the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is leading the Unified Command that has been responding to the spill.
Leddy-Phillips said behind the shoreline assessment teams are cleanup crews.

“We call them our ‘hot shot teams’ because they’re able to respond quickly,” she said, adding that those teams use proper protective gear and equipment to remove any tar balls spotted.

The high surf Monday into Tuesday could disrupt things and cause more tar balls to wash ashore.

“It can definitely change the environment,” said Leddy-Phillips.
She said the Unified Command is using information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to determine where to focus their cleanup efforts.

“And those trajectories take into account the wind and the weather, so the storm surge is definitely something we’re watching and taking into account with our cleanup efforts,” she said.

The public is asked not to touch the tar balls if they see them and report them instead. Information on reporting tar balls can be found here.