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Tar balls continue to wash ashore in San Diego

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — More than two weeks after the oil spill in Orange County, tar balls are still showing up on San Diego County beaches.

On Tuesday, the tar balls were round across the shoreline in Del Mar, including some tangled in seaweed.

“We’re staying away from it,” said Dave Reese, a beachgoer from Poway. “That’s the best thing to do, I think, at this point in time. Hopefully they can get it cleaned up quick.”

Even if they clean up the tar balls, more could be on the way.

While tar naturally seeps into the Southern California ocean, there’s been a large increase in the wake of this month’s oil spill in Orange County. That sent upwards of 25,000 gallons of oil into the waters. The oil mixes with detritus in the ocean and solidifies before winding up on beaches.

Tar balls have now been spotted as far south as Mission Beach. Beachgoers should not touch them because they’re considered a hazardous material and can irritate the skin.

Authorities have now filled more than 13 barrels of tar balls — at 55 gallons each.

A spokesman for the Coast Guard said the cause of the spill is still under investigation but the leaking pipeline has been shut down. He said, however, that the most recent shoreline assessment had crews discovering tar balls in San Diego County. They can persist in the marine environment for a while and can travel hundreds of miles from a spill site, the spokesman said.

Those who find tar balls can report them at [email protected]