Tar Washing Ashore Causes Problems to Those Visiting SPI

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SOUTH PADRE ISLAND – Those going to South Padre Island are finding more than just seaweed along the shoreline. They say pieces of tar are washing up on the sand.

Although SPI officials tell CHANNEL 5 NEWS they're harmless, it's causing problems for those looking to enjoy the day.

Paul Najera says he was looking to take a quick trip to the island. Only this time, dozens of pieces of tar beat him to his favorite spot.

"It's a nuisance when you get it on your feet, it just won't come off. If you get it on your shoes it takes a lot of doing to get it cleaned off," he says.

South Padre Island shoreline director Brandon Hill urges those looking to have fun at the beach not to worry about the tar. He said it's harmless and happens every year.

Some of those pieces of tar actually have been floating around the Gulf for many years. We learned it's not until the tides change that they finally wash up on shore.

According to Hill, the tar either comes naturally from the earth or from oil drilling out in the Gulf.

He says while the island sees some of this tar, with the change in tides you'll find more of them on beaches the further north you go along the Gulf.

"We certainly have no reason to expect anything above normal," said Hill.

Since it is tar, when it comes to cleaning up, it needs to be taken care of properly.

"All of that tar is collected and disposed of thanks to our partnerships with the local General Land Office and the Coast Guard," explained Hill.

Najera said he hopes the beaches get cleaned so he won’t have to deal with more tar ruining his day.

According to Hill, they clean the beach every day starting early in the morning. When it comes to picking up the tar, they use a device which separates the sand from the tar.

He said some of the pieces collected are then tested in a lab.


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