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Volunteers to hit the beaches today to search for more tar balls - The Galveston County Daily News : News

September 1, 2014

Volunteers to hit the beaches today to search for more tar balls

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Posted: Monday, March 31, 2014 12:15 am | Updated: 3:14 pm, Mon Mar 31, 2014.

GALVESTON — Cleanup efforts continued on the island Sunday as crews sought out any traces of oil that have washed ashore from a large oil spill in Galveston Bay from more than a week ago.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard said it has no timetable for how long the cleanup will continue.

“Right now, we’re scouring the beaches, looking for oil wherever we can find it,” said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Andy Kendrick, a spokesman for the Texas City “Y” Response team.

Volunteers working with the Galveston Bay Foundation’s Volunteer Sentinel Program got a short respite from searching the beaches for oil deposits on Sunday, said Emily Ford, volunteer coordinator with the Galveston Bay Foundation. Shifts of volunteers covered the beaches from 37th to 61st streets Saturday as well as beaches on the West End.

Ford on Sunday said the oil is becoming rarer and rarer to find.

“There’s a random tar ball here or there, but that’s all,” she said.

Volunteers will resume their work about 11 a.m. today. Later in the week, the foundation will determine how much longer the volunteers will be needed, Ford said.

While most of the beaches are clear, the East End of Galveston Island remained closed. Crews on Saturday and Sunday continued using booms and other equipment to collect oil in those areas, which also include environmentally sensitive areas such as Big Reef. Cleanup efforts are being staged at Seawolf Park, which also is closed.

Cleanup efforts also have been ramped up in Matagorda Bay, where oil washed up on south Matagorda Island. The response team established a command post in nearby Port O’Connor, and has sent teams to manually clean 24 miles of beach with rakes, according to a statement.

The responders also are transporting all-terrain vehicles and other equipment to the island, which can only be reached by ship or barge.

Cleanup teams have been sent to Rockport and Aransas Pass as well in anticipation of oil reaching further south on the coastline.

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