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Tar Washes Up on SPI Beaches, Clean-Up Underway

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SOUTH PADRE ISLAND – Authorities are clearing South Padre Island beaches of tar, after the substance washed ashore Friday.

The tar was observed from the Port Mansfield ship channel to Isla Blanca Park, said Tony Resinger, a Cameron County extension agent with the Texas Sea Grant.

Friday evening crews from the U.S. Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, City of South Padre Island and Cameron County began cleanup efforts.

Mitchell Priest, a marine inspector with the U.S. Coast Guard, said the cleanup is done to remove the sticky substance from areas where it could bother the public.

The public faces no danger visiting beaches this weekend, he said.

"Best thing is not to pick it up, not touch it," said Priest. "If you get it on you just use a wipe to wipe it off."

Authorities said the source of the tar is unknown. It could be man-made or naturally occurring tar.

"Right now there's nothing offshore that's going on to cause this," said Priest. He added a recent storm could have been a factor. "It could have pushed it in from somewhere else," he said.

Priest said the appearance of tar on South Padre Island shores happens around this time every year.

Authorities said the tar should be cleared from beaches by Saturday.

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