News Flash

City News & Announcements

Posted on: October 11, 2021

Cleanup crews dispatched to Del Mar beaches

crew collects tar balls from Del Mar beaches

crew collects tar balls from Del Mar beaches

Cleanup crews spent three days at Del Mar beaches after a substantial deposit of tar balls washed onto the sand Oct. 19.

In cooperation with County officials, City staff requested the deployment of cleanup teams as soon as possible after beaches along the north coast received their largest buildup of tar in a single day. 

In Del Mar, specialized teams with hazardous materials training assisted with tar cleanup on the beaches and along portions of San Dieguito Lagoon on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. 

As prevailing currents and winds move the material from north to south, cleanup assignments generally follow the same pattern. That means Del Mar benefits from work completed on beaches to the north.

Beach-goers are asked not to collect the tar and to avoid touching it. Report oil-related contamination by emailing:

Del Mar beaches have remained open since the Oct. 2 rupture of an oil pipeline off of Huntington Beach.

Air, water and sediment monitoring in Orange and San Diego counties has shown the tar does not present a public health concern for short-term exposures.

On Oct. 17, crews removed many of the protective booms at inlets to coastal lagoons, including the San Dieguito Lagoon in Del Mar. The booms, which are effective in preventing liquid oil from entering environmentally sensitive areas, are less effective in preventing intrusion by “weathered oil,” or tar. In addition, booms and their anchoring can harm sensitive habitat.

Lifeguards urge beach-goers to report tar ball sightings to and not to collect the material and bring it to a lifeguard station.

In the event of contact with the skin, wash the affected area with skin-safe cleaners and water. Do not use degreasers, cleaning solutions or solvents as they may irritate the skin further.

Open Tar Ball Facts flyer (PDF)

Open Public Health Advisory

Open the Southern California Spill Response website

Open the Oiled Life Care Network webpage

crew collects tar balls from Del Mar beaches

crew collects tar balls from Del Mar beaches

tar ball facts flyer

Click to download (PDF)

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