The Department of Environmental Protection encourages the public to get involved in the effort to rid Florida beaches of tar balls. While the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened more than four years ago, there are still some reports of tar balls washing ashore on Florida beaches. By reporting oil residue, beachgoers will help preserve Florida’s unique beach environment.
When the official BP oil response ended in June 2013, the DEP stepped in to assess and aid oil-removal efforts. From July 2013 through Dec. 31 of 2014, the program’s Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT) team collected more than 60,000 tar balls and a total of 4,050 pounds of BP MC-252 oiling. Since 2013, there has been a steady decrease in material found by the SCAT team and it was a natural progression to phase out the program.
The department needs your help to keep Florida beaches clean and tar free. While the SCAT team will no longer be patrolling beaches daily, Florida residents are encouraged to report oil residue. Do not handle tar balls by hand. If you see any tar balls please report them to the National Reporting Center hotline at 1-800-424-8802 or at www.nrc.uscg.mil. For more information about the departments Deepwater Horizon projects click here.