VENTURA COUNTY

Oil Clumps Turn Up on Ventura County Coast

The substance spotted Saturday was described as ranging from small tar balls to disk-shaped clumps of oil.

Tar balls and clumps of oil have washed up on Ventura County beaches in Southern California days after mysterious petroleum globs and "tar patties" arrived to the South Bay.

All Ventura County beaches were open as of Saturday afternoon, but the Ventura County Sheriff's Office said several beaches from Faria Beach to Hollywood Beach are impacted by the substance.

Beachgoers should avoid contact with any petroleum on the beach. The substance spotted Saturday was described as ranging from small tar balls to disk-shaped clumps of oil.

The Refugio Incident Command Team was helping collect and sample the petroleum, but it was not clear whether the oil is natural seepage or related to the oil spill in Santa Barbara County.

News of the tar balls comes one day after beaches in the South Bay reopened following a two-day closure affecting the coastline from El Segundo to Redondo Beach.

Crews had been working to clean up the tar, the source of which has not been determined. The environmental group Heal the Bay earlier had warned that the beaches should not be reopened "until all the oil is cleaned up."

The unknown petroleum substance began hitting the beach about 10 a.m. Wednesday. The U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies collected samples of the material and were trying to identify the substance and its source.

To report oil, contact the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center at 800-424-8802. If interested in volunteering, contact California Spill Watch at 800-228-4544.

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