VENICE (CBSLA.com) — The coast is expected to be a top destination this holiday weekend, but beach-goers beware: tar balls are still being reported from Malibu to Manhattan Beach.
“We’re still getting reports from different people all over Los Angeles County and Orange County about unusual amounts of tar globs,” Dana Roeber Murray, a marine scientist, says.
It’s been weeks since the Refugio Beach pipeline leak and wash-ups along Santa Monica Bay and the South Bay, but they’re still showing up on shore in various sizes.
“Although we can’t unequivocally say the source is the Plains All American pipeline for all the oil we’re seeing on the beaches, some of the sourcing has shown up to be a match,” Murray said.
Coast Guard Unified Command told CBS2 the amount does not rise to the level to warrant a response and they’re still investigating the exact source of the wash-ups on Los Angeles County beaches.
“There is also a larger criminal investigation being done by our state Attorney General’s office,” she said.
That investigation may determine to what degree the oil company will be held responsible and on the hook to replenish the taxpayer-funded oil spill superfund that covered the cost of the clean-up.
“If it’s large globs of it, those should be reported and people should avoid stepping on them, touching them with their skin, and of course ingesting it,” she added.
While Heal the Bay says beach-goers should expect to see tar balls over the July 4th weekend, the real impact on the marine ecosystem won’t be apparent for months to come.