Crews clean up more tar balls on Galveston

July 6, 2010 8:12:00 PM PDT
We first told you Monday that tests confirmed tar balls found on Crystal Beach over the weekend are from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. On Tuesday, new tests returned confirming more globs discovered on Galveston's East Beach this weekend were also from the oil spill. Crews cleaned up several more tar balls found on East Beach Tuesday afternoon.

The city of Galveston says the problem is not bad and the beaches are open for business, but beachgoers Tuesday found something to talk about.

"Tar and oil, some pieces got up here. Some of them were still wet, and I guess I stepped in them," said Emily Radtke, showing off her sticky feet.

A cleanup crew walked East Beach Tuesday, sweeping up the tar balls. There are three crews of eight people on standby, ready to hit the sand whenever a U.S. Coast Guard assessment team calls them.

"Basically, we're just out picking up small tar balls, maybe like june bug size is how I relate it to these guys. We just have a small impact on the beach that we're trying to take care of," said Ronnie Rouse of T and T Marine, a beach cleanup contractor.

On Monday, the Coast Guard and BP said the tar balls discovered on Galveston and Bolivar could have come from ships arriving from the spill zone and not the oil leak itself.

One beachgoer found tar balls stuck to his beach blanket on Monday.

"Yesterday was bad. It was all over our feet, our bag, our cooler and this blanket," said Andy Weber.

However, the Houstonian said the tar ball problem shouldn't keep people from coming to Galveston.

"I don't think it's that big of a deal. I wouldn't stay away," Weber said.

The Coast Guard says so far the cleanup has cost about $40,000, and BP will end up footing the bill.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot also is requesting BP set aside $25 million to fund Texas' response and cleanup efforts, just as it's done for each of the other gulf coast states.

Just hours after Allen spoke to the media, Gov. Rick Perry, who also was in Houston at Johnson Space Center, announced the formation of the Gulf Project.

It's a consortium of Texas scientists, researchers and engineers tasked with developing better guidelines to monitor drilling equipment and wells.

"I've asked its members to prepare a comprehensive road map that will lead us to our destination, ensuring such a disaster doesn't happen again," Perry said.

Abbott requested claims offices be opened in Texas so any residents, fishermen and small businesses impacted by the spill can seek compensation. Abbott says he's confident claims offices will be opened in the next few weeks.

If you come into contact with oil or a tar ball, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommends that the area be washed with soap and water, baby oil or another safe cleaning compound.

To report an oil spill or tar ball sighting, call the Texas General Land Office at 800-832-8224 or the National Response Center at 800-424-8802.

Stay with Eyewitness News and abc13.com for the latest on this story.


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