Tropical storm Lee has left some beach visitors with an unexpected and not necessarily welcomed surprise, giant tar balls. Tar which had floating out just past the surf isn’t a new realization for Little Lagoon Pass residents and the fact that they have washed ashore also doesn’t appear to be startling anyong.
Grant Brown a city worker for Gulf Shores says of the tar balls:
“We’ve been aware of tar mats just off shore in the surf zone. You would assume during a heavy surf event like we just had with Tropical Storm Lee that we’re going to have the agitation and the stuff down there is probably going to break up and come ashore.”
The balls themselves are rather large and when broken open the smell of petroleum can easy be recognized without any effort.
Speaking to WKRG News 5 Bob Gareri, head of state operations for BP in Gulf Shores says:
“They’ve been in the water. They are little bit darker color than anything that’s been laying on the beach for any amount of time.”
Bob was in the area to survey any issues residents might be having and he was accompanied by the coast guard and other officials who drove up and down the beach to survey damage caused by tropical storm Lee.
Gareri went on to note:
“There are a few portions of the beach impacted with some tarballing. Most of it is limited to moderate and this one right here seems to be the heaviest concentration.”
Cleanup couldn’t begin immediately because BP had moved away necessary equipment to save it from any damage the storm may have been capable of causing, however he says that equipment is on it’s way back and cleanup efforts would start as soon as possible.
Here’s the full video report of the tar ball incident: