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Tar and oil blobs appear on several Santa Barbara beaches, creating mystery search for the source

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif – The last two weeks have been a mess for those who have been going to some Santa Barbara area beaches.

An oily influence has arrived on shore. It is unclear where it came from.

The blobs have been noticed from Isla Vista to Carpinteria, including Coal Oil Point, Leadbetter Beach, Loon Point, and Hope Ranch beach.

Recently, work to recap wells in Summerland were aimed at reducing the decades-old pipes there from previous oil industry projects. These sites however, are not believed to be the source of the recent oil.

Heal the Ocean said if the tar pads have a rainbow sheen to them, they are fresh.

If they are more solidified, they have been in the water longer.

It's possible they are from a natural seep that is under pressure and releasing the oil from cracks. That pressure can come from several sources, including from the amount of runoff water coming into the aquifers from storms.

Heal the Ocean is currently checking the beaches and flying a drone to see if the oil is coming from one area or accumulating.

In the meantime, those who are walking the beaches will likely find some tar stuck to the bottom of their feet or shoes. Baby oil, olive oil or substance removal products such as Goo Gone and Goof Off are a common way to remove the oil.

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Article Topic Follows: Environment & Energy
beach tar
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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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