Keys West Tar Balls Not From Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

On May 18 we reported that tar balls were found on the beaches in Key West. Following are new findings:

The Coast Guard Marine Safety Laboratory in New London, Conn. analyzed a sampling of tar balls discovered on Florida Keys shoreline Tuesday and determined that none of the collected samples are from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

A sampling of tar balls discovered on beaches at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, Fla., Smathers Beach in Key West, Big Pine Key, Fla., and Loggerhead Key in the Dry Tortugas National Park, Fla. were flown by a Coast Guard HU-25 Falcon jet based in Miami, Fla., to New London, Conn. Tuesday for testing and analysis.

The results of those tests conclusively show that the tar balls collected from Florida Keys beaches do not match the type of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The source of the tar balls remains unknown at this time.

Capt. Pat DeQuattro, commanding officer of Sector Key West, authorized the use of the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to commence cleanups of any oil pollution on Florida Keys shoreline and established a Unified Command comprised of members from the Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of the Interior, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Monroe County to manage the Florida Keys Tar Ball Incident response.

“The conclusion that these tar balls are not from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident in no way diminishes the need to continue to aggressively identify and clean up tar ball-contaminated areas in the Florida Keys,” DeQuattro said. “We will continue to operate as a Unified Command and utilize funding through the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund until we have successfully identified any additional tar balls on the shoreline and completed cleanup efforts.”

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