Tar balls wash up on Alabama coast after Tropical Storm Lee

When Tropical Storm Lee sailed through the Gulf Coast this past weekend, it generated high surf that, in turn, churned up tar balls and spread them all along Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

Earlier today, BP sent out crews with small fishing nets in hand to start cleaning up the mess left behind from Lee. Employees used the fishing nets to comb the shores, picking up tar balls in groups and tossing them into sealed plastic bags.

Gulf Shores spokesman Grant Brown said that residents had been worried that a storm, or high surf, would kick up the remnants of the BP oil spill from last year and litter the shores once again with a mess of tar balls.

“It’s more proof that there still are offshore tar mats and it’s washing ashore … and it’s going to continue, it looks like, coming to shore,” said Brown.

BP, on the other hand, says it isn’t sure if the tar balls were related to the BP oil spill or not, but they will be taking samples from today’s cleanup to determine whether or not there’s a link.

“As these teams report results of their assessments over the coming days, response teams will be mobilized as necessary to respond to these affected areas,” he said.

Fortunately, today’s surprise visit from the tar balls didn’t have much of an impact on tourism. The summer vacation series has come to an end, and only a few tourists roamed the beaches.