GALVESTON — Cleanup efforts continued on the island Sunday as crews sought out any traces of oil that have washed ashore from a large oil spill in Galveston Bay from more than a week ago.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard said it has no timetable for how long the cleanup will continue.

“Right now, we’re scouring the beaches, looking for oil wherever we can find it,” said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Andy Kendrick, a spokesman for the Texas City “Y” Response team.

Volunteers working with the Galveston Bay Foundation’s Volunteer Sentinel Program got a short respite from searching the beaches for oil deposits on Sunday, said Emily Ford, volunteer coordinator with the Galveston Bay Foundation. Shifts of volunteers covered the beaches from 37th to 61st streets Saturday as well as beaches on the West End.

Ford on Sunday said the oil is becoming rarer and rarer to find.

“There’s a random tar ball here or there, but that’s all,” she said.

Volunteers will resume their work about 11 a.m. today. Later in the week, the foundation will determine how much longer the volunteers will be needed, Ford said.

While most of the beaches are clear, the East End of Galveston Island remained closed. Crews on Saturday and Sunday continued using booms and other equipment to collect oil in those areas, which also include environmentally sensitive areas such as Big Reef. Cleanup efforts are being staged at Seawolf Park, which also is closed.

Cleanup efforts also have been ramped up in Matagorda Bay, where oil washed up on south Matagorda Island. The response team established a command post in nearby Port O’Connor, and has sent teams to manually clean 24 miles of beach with rakes, according to a statement.

The responders also are transporting all-terrain vehicles and other equipment to the island, which can only be reached by ship or barge.

Cleanup teams have been sent to Rockport and Aransas Pass as well in anticipation of oil reaching further south on the coastline.

Contact reporter Wes Swift at 409-683-5319 or wes.swift@galvnews.com.

(3) comments

Ted Wagner

Saw oil on the West End today (Bermuda Beach) while jogging at noon. East of Pabst Rd entrance, along a stretch of 300 yards or so. Not heavy, but definitely patches along the high tide line.

Stan Miller

I've been working on Oil Spill Claims now for almost six years. I am still working on Claims, and have a few paid. But, I can't figure out the hold up on the others.
Stan Miller

Carlos Ponce

"Tar balls have been washing up on Texas beaches at least since the days of the Karankawa Indians, who used them to waterproof baskets and pottery. Today the tar ball can be found on the feet of almost anyone who spends an afternoon on a Texas beach. In seaside towns such as Galveston, children are taught early that after a trip to the beach they must not step on the floor before applying kerosene to their feet. Some coastal hotels even provide their guests with complimentary oil-cutting solvents to remove the tar (baby oil, suntan oil, and peanut butter also do the trick)."
http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-culture/texas-primer-the-tar-ball/

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