by Tiffany Craig & Jeremy Desel / 11 News
GALVESTON—The Texas General Land Office confirmed Monday the tar balls found along the shores of Crystal Beach on Bolivar Peninsula are from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Over the weekend, officials heard rumored reports of tar balls washing ashore. Officials performed rushed tests on samples collected and have since confirmed the oil is from the massive spill in the Gulf.
Coast Guard crews collected more tar balls from Sunny Beach, just west of the Seawall, Tuesday morning. Tests will be performed to determine if they also came from the Deepwater Horizon.
They found no sign of tar balls during an earlier search of Stewart Beach.
“The fact is that we do have some oil confirmed from the Deepwater Horizon incident,” said Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski. “We are going to deal with these isolated reports of the tar balls. I hope that it stays isolated and to the extent that they hit our beaches we will have them cleaned up right away.”
The Deepwater Horizon is 402 miles from Galveston’s beach. Enough time has passed that the oil should have degraded dramatically, but it hasn’t.
“If you put your finger in the jar you will see that they are a little bit tacky,” U.S. Coast Guard Cpt. Marcus Woodring.
That leaves the Coast Guard wondering how the tar balls got here. One theory is a ship brought them in and another is Hurricane Alex’s effect on the Gulf.
“This is inconsistent with the weathering pattern that would be expected,” Woodring said. “Does that mean it is impossible? Absolutely not.”