Oil, tar balls wash onto beaches

A three-mile-long ribbon of oil washed up on Moss Beach on Monday, along with gallons of oil and sticky tar balls on beaches from San Francisco to Pacifica.

Crews with the U.S. Coast Guard and the California Oil Spill Investigation Response team collected 30 gallons of fouled soil from Pacifica Beach and another 12 gallons from Rockaway Beach on Monday afternoon. Smaller amounts of oil and tar balls were found on Ocean, Montara and Carmel beaches, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael Anderson.

The black, sticky oil was first reported to the Pacifica Public Works Department on Monday morning, according to Pacifica Police Capt. Dave Bertini. Investigators believe the debris was floating in the ocean and was churned onto the shore by recent storm activity, Anderson said.

“We anticipated this would happen, after the initial [Cosco Busan] oil spill,” said Beverly Thames, San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services spokeswoman.

Globs of oil can float in the ocean for months before being washed up by storms or high tides, according to Anderson.

Although initial reports suggested that some marine wildlife had come into contact with the oil, that turned out not to be the case, Thames said.

Local beaches were closed while cleanup took place, and should be back open this morning, Thames said.

Samples of the oil that washed up Monday will be sent to Sacramento, where investigators will analyze its contents and attempt to determine where it came from, according to Anderson. Results of those tests should be available today.

Those tests could reveal whether the oil is a remnant of the Nov. 7 Cosco Busan spill. Most of the 54,000 gallons of fuel spilled with when the ship hit a fender on a Bay Bridge tower sank, washed out to sea or evaporated, according to the Coast Guard. About one-third of it was recovered by volunteers and cleanup crews, according the Coast Guard.

Although oil and tar balls are thought to pose little risk to the public, beachgoers who find the substances should avoid touching it and should report it to the county Office of Emergency Services, Thames said.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

File photo
SFPD releases videos of deadly police shooting

Cesar Vargas killed after reports of carjacking with knife

The City requires the recycling or reuse of debris material removed from a construction project site. <ins>(Emma Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
<ins></ins>
Permits proposed for haulers of construction debris to achieve zero-waste

San Francisco plans to tighten regulations on the disposal of construction and… Continue reading

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/TNS)
Newsom says California will review FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines before releasing to public

By Taryn Luna Los Angeles Times California will review the safety of… Continue reading

Rachael Tanner, left, testifies virtually before the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee Monday, October 19, 2020. (SFGOV courtesy art)
Rachael Tanner set to become SF’s next Planning Commissioner

Rachael Tanner is expected to serve as the newest member of the… Continue reading

People exercise along the closed Great Highway on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Could the Great Highway become a great city park?

Permanent closure would require extensive public outreach, safety and traffic management plans

Most Read