About half a dozen tar balls, weighed in at approximately 30 pounds, had been collected by Saturday afternoon at Dauphin Island.  Authorities are planning to test the substance to see if they came from the spill or if they are naturally occurring tar balls that form from natural gas seepage in the sea floor.  If it is the latter, it isn’t as big a threat as if it is indications that the oil from the spill is making it to the shores of Alabama. The testing may take 48 hours to complete.

“It almost looks like bark, but when you pick it up it definitely has a liquid consistency and it’s definitely oil,” said Kimberly Creel, 41, who was  frolicking near the coastline- enjoying the last bit of clean water before the tar lapped upon the shore.

The tar balls on Dauphin Island are more a nuisance than a health hazard, stated Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier.  If someone steps on one, Collier said, “it adheres to your skin and you’ll have to clean it off.”

The oil has been in isolated spots, not completely covering the water like a sheen.

Scott Hughes, spokesman for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, said that people can swim until further notice, but should steer clear of the tar.

Reports of tarballs can be made to the Coast Guard at any time at 1-800-448-5816.

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.