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Beach Tar Ball Response Concluded

The Unified Command is concluding its operation to address the presence of tar balls on the Oregon and southern Washington coasts. As we wrap up, we want to ensure that the public remains informed and feels confident about returning to our beautiful beaches.

“The coordinated efforts of multiple agencies and organizations have been instrumental in addressing this environmental issue swiftly and effectively,” said Coast Guard Cmdr. Bonnie Stewart of the Unified Command. “We thank all those involved for their commitment to protecting our coastal ecosystems.”

Over the past several days, our teams took advantage of the low tides to resurvey and clean areas following the stormy weather. No beaches were re-oiled and all oiled beaches are now cleaned up. A small amount of oily material may still be present in some areas. If you encounter any tar balls, please avoid touching or handling them. Professional responders, trained and equipped to handle this type of material, should be left to manage the cleanup. To report tar balls on the beach or oil in the water, please call the National Response Center (NRC) at 800-424-8802.

If you encounter tar balls, wash the area thoroughly with soap or a degreasing dishwashing detergent and water. Avoid using solvents, gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, or similar products.

For sightings of oiled birds or other wildlife, please report to 1-800-22-BIRDS (1-800-222-4737). Handling affected wildlife can be dangerous to both the animals and individuals trying to help. Investigation into the source of the oil is still ongoing. The results of laboratory testing so far indicate that the product is petroleum based and that the compounds detected are consistent with oil products.

Gratitude and appreciation are extended to everyone involved in this 20-day operation. The Unified Command, led by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and the Washington Department of Ecology, appreciates the hard work and dedication of all responders.

Operational Statistics:

  • Total oily debris collected: Nearly 2,000 pounds (almost a ton) across Oregon and Washington.

  • Total beach miles surveyed and cleaned: More than 300 miles surveyed and 36 miles cleaned in Oregon and Washington.

  • Total responders: 113 individuals from 14 agencies/companies,

For additional information and resources, please visit  https://ordeq.org/beach-tar.

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