Two days ago, we were forced to close all our ocean beaches, from the Peninsula to Downtown, due to petroleum tar balls found in the water and washing up on shore. Now, thanks to the rapid response and hard work of our Fire Department and the United States Coast Guard, as well as help from our Health Department, Parks and Recreation staff, Animal Care Services, and many volunteers, the tar balls have been cleaned up and our beaches are all open.
Thankfully, we have not had reports of any health issues due to these tar balls, nor of any major injuries to wildlife. A few birds did unfortunately encounter some of the tar balls, but our terrific Animal Care personnel were able to care for them and release them unharmed.
The Long Beach Fire Department Marine Safety Division will continue to monitor the situation, and should tar balls appear again, appropriate measures will be initiated.
The City is asking that any reports of oil debris be directed to the National Response Center (NRC) Hotline at 1-800-424-8802. You can also contact our lifeguards at 562-570-1360 with any reports of impacted wildlife.
At the moment, we don't know the source of these tar balls. We are investigating whether there is any connection to the Santa Barbara spill, and I will keep you informed once we determine their origin.
My thanks to our Fire Department, Coast Guard, city staff and volunteers who responded so quickly and managed this situation so well.