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UPDATE: Tar balls found in Cayucos consistent with natural seepage, experts say

Posted at 4:52 PM, Dec 20, 2019

Those black, sticky tar balls that have been washing up on Central Coast beaches are natural according to the California Fish and Wildlife Department.

Some residents in Cayucos said they saw an especially large number of tar balls within the last week, but lab results confirm they are consistent with weathered Monterey Formation oil.

Experts with the California Fish and Wildlife Department say tar balls are often found in Cayucos, Morro Bay Harbor and Port San Luis and can come from natural ocean floor seepage after storms.

Recently, beach-goers also noticed tar balls at Avila Beach and Fisherman's Beach and alerted the Regional Water Control Board. Experts say they have surveyed those areas as well and have sent back samples for testing.

CA Fish and Wildlife tells KSBY experts recently investigated reports of tar balls and oil-contaminated birds in Monterey County and determined the source was ocean floor seepage of the Monterey Formation.

The lumps of weathered oil can be messy and difficult to remove from skin and clothes if you come in contact with it.

Wildlife experts said there is no serious public health threat, but if animals digest it, it could be harmful. They advise people from visiting the affected beach areas.