Category: Tar Ball Central


Living off the coast of Florida my entire life, I am well aware of the impact of hurricane season which officially started on June 1st. Many fears run rampant along the Gulf Coast of how a hurricane or even a tropical storm could adversely affect our shorelines by bringing more oil than assumed further inland.

The Coast Guard has appeared to taken a proactive stance in the preparation for hurricane season as I prompted them about the severity of this situation backed in late April in a previous teleconference.

Coast Guard Admiral Thaad Allen stated that the current production system can siphon up to 53,000 barrels a day by the end of June, if everything goes according to plan. Once this maximum recovery has been reached, consideration for  installing a floating riser package will be placed on the table.  The floating riser package will consist of a section of riser pipe 4000 ft long which will be anchored with buoys on top that will allow flexibility to disconnect and reconnect if a hurricane is threatening the recovery process.

Additionally, the final determination on July 1st- of replacing the containment cap by unbolting the the final section of riser pipe that was sheer cut and replacing it with a multi sitting device that is permanently bolted and sealed so that the oil can be  siphoned to production tankers above water. If this effort is successful, it is estimated to capture approximately 60,000- 80,000 barrels per day of the leaked oil which is a far jump from the current 25,000 barrels of oil a day being collected.

However, if this process is completed- it will leave the well vulnerable for an indefinite amount of time and, of course, this recovery effort has not been done within a depth of 5,000 ft- so there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration because this process could actually damper our recovery efforts.

However, it is important to note that even if this process is successful- it will not capture all of the oil, leaving a percentage of oil to continue to leak into the Gulf.

The only REAL recovery effort is the drilling of the two relief wells. The current depth of the first well drilling is 10,677 ft below the sea floor and the second well drilling has drilled as far down as 4,662 ft below the sea floor. As the current operation stands, the angled relief wells which will intersect the gushing well to relieve the pressure will not be ready until mid August– which is approximately 2 months away.

Between the current recovery efforts, hurricane season upon us and oil puddles lapping onto the shores as far East as Okaloosa County, FL— the hopes of the Gulf Coast residents are diminishing exponentially to practically nonexistent. The only thing that can save the Gulf residents is strong local leadership, a loud voice and a determined humanitarian spirit.

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.


I apologize for the break in updates on the oil spill as we have been preparing for the oil to hit our shorelines.

As of yesterday, June 4th- I am sad to announce that tar bars and some tar mats have came on shore in Escambia County and have traveled as far East to Navarre Beach, FL.

In the upcoming days, I will be collaborating all of my accumulated data and working on putting forth an overview of the last few days. Please stay tuned to this blog for more information.

Thank you for caring during this time of tragedy.



Kevin Costner has gone on the record to present a centrifuge for separating oil and water which BP will be testing by the end of next week.

To see a video of Costner’s centrifuge machine and explanation of idea, please click below:


600,000 gallons of oil have collected as of date.  4 controlled burns of surface oil have been completed- 1 lasted over an hour. Today, a burn lasted over two hours. Mother nature has been kind and favorable in this effort.


$700 million has been granted to the Gulf States to emphasize the recreational value and help boost the fishing and tourism industry. Florida has been granted $25 million of the financial aid to Florida’s website, and local tourist development councils will work in conjunction on how best to emphasize their natural resources.


Working on option to place another blow out preventer on top of the faulty blow out preventer as well as an option of a valve on top of the BOP where the riser exits. Two more pressure tests need to be completed before determining whether or not these two options are a viable recovery effort.


Overflight showed that there is light sheen in the loop current with heavier impact estimated very within 10 days.  Keep in mind that the loop current runs slow, is subject to change and is relatively far from South Florida.  These factors will allow the light sheen to dissipate, degrade or weather before it makes impact with Florida.

“I would have no reason to suspect any subsea oil within the loop current”, states NOAA’s Charlie Henry. “Im pretty confident in our observations.”

The bulk of oil is AWAY from the loop current. That oil is not in the immediate threat of entering the loop current. There are a lot of eddys, areas of warm water, that move the oil.  There are also chances that other eddies will form and move the oil away from the Gulf Stream.  NOAA will model and monitor the loop current daily.


There is more oil impact in a harsher condition than previously anticipated present on the Mississippi Delta region.  People are working towards protecting the marshes and mitigate the impact.  Unfortunately, nothing further was elaborated on the protection strategies.


Continuation of the first relief well will start today. Likewise, the drilling of the 2nd well will start today as well.  The wells are not expected to become operational until mid August 2010.


“Performing well. We are very encouraged. We think this is a a sustainable operation now”, states BP chief executive, Doug Suttles.  The current flow rate is estimated at 3000 barrels of oil per day and about $14 million cubic feet of gas per day. Monitoring the plume subsea, about half of the volume that is coming out of the riser is estimated to be gas.


NOAA still stands by the statement that people have “elaborated” on the subsea oil plumes. Charlie Henry from the NOAA states that the oil plumes that people are thinking of and whats been detected on the Pelican vessel on Sunday are two totally different things and it is important not for people to confuse the two.

Basically, they had detected hydrocarbons in different straits of water.  They are under the impression that these hydrocarbons are from the small droplets of oil that did not rise from the well and “other sources”. There is not oil appearance, the water is clear.   NOAA is still waiting on data to confirm information.


Tar balls have washed ashore in Corpus Christi, Texas and are in the process of being analyzed. The Coastguard feels that these tar balls will not be associated with the oil slick; however, they are taking precautionary measures and have been staying in close contact with the state of Texas throughout the oil slick ordeal.


The Coastguard lab in Connecticut confirmed that the tar balls are NOT in relation to the oil spill.


This procedure is the next line of action to stop the gushing of oil at wellhead.  The reason for the delay in the top kill procedure, the hydraulic control of the choke and kill lines had to be reestablished and access to that choke and kill line needed to be reinstated to allow high pressure fluid. In addition, the yellow control pot that manages the choke and kill lines had to be retrieved and recalibrate from the wreckage.

Fluids that are used in this process are environmentally sensitive with drilling muds that can be discharged. Unfortunately, nothing was further stated regarding the specifics of the drilling muds.

All steps are moving forward and officials are optimistic to have the top kill effort be operational Sunday, possibly Monday.

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has apologized after posting a Twitter update Wednesday morning that tar balls had washed ashore on Destin beaches.

At about 10:30, the federal agency reported that a cleanup crew had been dispatched to the unspecified scene. The Log immediately checked with city, county and wildlife officials to verify the report. But all said they had not recieved any word on the find.

An hour later, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tweeted that “Sources have verified that news about tarballs on Destin Beach was mistake in our daily report. Apologies for the inconvenience!!”

This report on the tar scare comes from the Northwest FLorida Daily News’ Tom McLaughlin.

There are not, repeat not, tar balls washing up on beaches in Destin.

That much has been confirmed by Okaloosa County Emergency Manager Randy McDaniel.

A tweet stating “Tarballs have hit Destin Beach in FL. A cleanup crew has been deployed” appeared this morning on a twitter account belonging to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast.

The post came “via Hootsuite.”

McDaniel said he had been informed about the tweet and said he had called the Florida Emergency Operations Center and requested assistance in getting the “erroneous information” removed.

Jim Burkhart at the Fish and Wildlife Service disaster operations desk in Atlanta was originally at a loss for where the tweet had originated, but by noon had determined its origin.

“It came out of a report out of one of our mobile command areas,” Burkhart said. He identified the command post as being in Mobile.

Burkhart was later able to determine that the report had been made by a group of Fish and Wildlife officers who were called to “somewhere near Destin” in response to a report of a bird covered in oil. The officers did not find the bird, but did find what they believed to be “oil balls on the beach” and collected the material to take back for testing, Burkhart said.

It is doubtful the material was tar balls, Burkhart said.

“What they actually picked up I don’t know,” he said. “I think we’re making a lot of something out of nothing.”

He apologized on behalf of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for any inconvenience the erroneous report might have caused.

No reports of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill entering Florida waters have been confirmed. Winds from the southeast have been pushing the massive spill westward from its Louisiana source, weather officials say.

Continue reading for the city’s latest emergency update.

(Information from the City of Destin)

The City of Destin is open for business!  East Pass is open to marine traffic!  Our sugar-white sandy beaches have NOT been affected by the oil spill.

Here are today’s updates:

The City of Destin’s Public Services crews will be attending Hazardous Materials Awareness and Wildlife Response Training Classes this week.  Courses have also been scheduled for Okaloosa County residents and will be held Wednesday, May 12- Saturday, May 15th.  If you are interested in assisting in shoreline oil spill cleanup operations, you can request placement in a spill response course by emailing  As you know by now, shoreline cleanup volunteers must have training, including hazardous materials training.  Only volunteers who have been trained and provide appropriate certification are allowed to assist.

Oil containment booms have been deployed in the East Pass.  The booming will not be extended into place until oil actually threatens the coastline.

(From Okaloosa County Emergency Management)

No potential landfall of oil in the Okaloosa area is expected through Thursday.  A Local State of Emergency has been declared for Okaloosa County and will run consecutively with the Governor’s declaration for the next 60 days. A citizen information line has been set up to ensure the most current information is available to all residents. To listen to the current recording please dial 311 option 8, to report any oil spill you notice in your area or affected wildlife call 311 option 0, this will connect you to a live operator.


KEY WEST, Fla. – The Coast Guard Marine Safety Laboratory in New London, Conn. analyzed a sampling of tar balls discovered on Florida Keys shoreline Tuesday and determined that none of the collected samples are from the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill.

A sampling of tar balls discovered on beaches at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, Fla., Smathers Beach in Key West, Big Pine Key, Fla., and Loggerhead Key in the Dry Tortugas National Park, Fla. were flown by a Coast Guard HU-25 Falcon jet based in Miami, Fla., to New London, Conn. Tuesday for testing and analysis.

The results of those tests conclusively show that the tar balls collected from Florida Keys beaches do not match the type of oil from the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The source of the tar balls remains unknown at this time.

Capt. Pat DeQuattro, commanding officer of Sector Key West, authorized the use of the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund Tuesday to commence cleanups of any oil pollution on Florida Keys shoreline and established a Unified Command comprised of members from the Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of the Interior, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Monroe County to manage the Florida Keys Tar Ball Incident response.

“The conclusion that these tar balls are not from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident in no way diminishes the need to continue to aggressively identify and clean up tar ball-contaminated areas in the Florida Keys,” DeQuattro said.  “We will continue to operate as a Unified Command and utilize funding through the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund until we have successfully identified any additional tar balls on the shoreline and completed cleanup efforts.”

Coast Guard pollution investigators from Sector Key West responded to a report of twenty tar balls found on the beach at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park in Key West Monday.  Coast Guard Sector Key West received notification from the Florida Park Service around 5:15 p.m. Monday of twenty tar balls ranging in size from approximately three to eight inches in diameter.  Park rangers conducted a shoreline survey of Fort Zachary Taylor and the adjacent Navy beach at Truman Annex and recovered the tar balls at a rate of nearly three tar balls an hour throughout the day, with the heaviest concentration found at high tide, around 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Coast Guard Sector Key West received notification from the National Response Center at approximately 8 a.m. of tar balls on the beach in Big Pine Key, followed by a 9 a.m. report of tar balls on Loggerhead Key in the Dry Tortugas National Park.  The report of tar balls on Smathers Beach came via telephone to watchstanders at Sector Key West at approximately 8:20 a.m.

The public is asked to report the sighting of any tar balls to the U.S. Coast Guard at 1 (800) 424-8802.  Any oiled shorelines can be reported to 1 (866) 448-5816.
The public is reminded that tar balls are a hazardous material, which while not dangerous to most people can cause an allergic reaction and should only be retrieved by trained personnel.  All beaches on the Florida Keys remain open.


Five “tar balls”, each about a half-inch in diameter, were found over a 3.5 mile stretch of shoreline off of Perdido Key in Escambia County.  The state reported these tar balls as a very minor incident and could not confirm that they were related to the oil spill.

However, according to Visit Florida as of Saturday, 05.15.2010 at 11:30 am CDT, there have been “no reported tar balls” on the beaches of Florida.

How can this be?

As a native Floridian, I have ran across naturally occurring tar balls that have washed up on our shore from time to time resulting from the minute amounts of oil/gas that being released from the sea floor which hardens over time.

Additionally, many “untrained eyes” can mistakenly see tar balls when in actuality, they are seeing something completely unrelated.

Case in point, when I went down to Okaloosa Island (in NW Fla) for a beach vigil a week ago. “Locals” were walking down the beach when suddenly somebody pointed out, “Oh no! There’s a tar ball!”. They stood over it and gawked in horror.

As they walked away, I walked over to the “tar ball” and picked it up, I flipped it over to examine it more in depth– only to find out that it was merely a broken off piece of concrete. You can see the “tar ball” for yourself in the pictures below. For redundancy’s sake, this is NOT a tar ball.

Front Back

Further, the Coast Guard, BP and MMS at 2:00pm CDT yesterday to state that all reports of tar balls east of the Mississippi River are actually clumps of *algae* (right) that has been mistaken to be tar patches.

However, it is important to note that the reports of the testing of the “tar balls” in Escambia County have not been released as of yet– so it is possible but with my analysis of the currents and wind patterns of the past few weeks, I am garnishing my bets on that tar balls in Escambia County are not “probable” at least not at this point.

Below is a picture of tar balls that have been collected from the Timor Sea spill off the coast of Australia last year.

Tar balls are fragments or lumps of oil weathered to a semi-solid or solid consistency, feel sticky, and are difficult to remove from contaminated surfaces.

If you observe any evidence of oil on Florida’s coastline, report the incident to me and Ill get to the bottom of it, one way or the other and report back.

Please keep in mind that many things can look like tar balls so PLEASE be 110% confident that what you are witnessing is in fact a tar ball before calling it such. Florida’s tourism industry is already being affected enough as it is.

For what it’s worth, my Perdido Key friends are reporting that the waters are beautiful and are cleaner than ever thanks to all the pre-landfall clean up effort! Additionally,  there are no reported oil sheen off of Florida’s coastline and no additional “tar balls” have been found.

The weather at Perdido Key, FL is reported at 84.5 degree Fahrenheit with slight cloud coverage. The only thing that looks to be harming  Florida’s coastline is a chance of showers tomorrow.   Enjoy the  beautiful weather, white sandy beaches and breathtaking emerald coastline of NW Florida. I know I am!

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.

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.