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More Tar Balls Wash Up On Southern California Beaches

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Just a day after tar balls started washing up on South Bay beaches, the oily globs began washing ashore in Ventura County—just 50 miles south of the spill of 21,000 gallons of oil into the ocean last week.

On Thursday, reports of abnormally large tar balls on Ventura County beaches began to come in. Some on Faria Beach were up to 12 inches diameter, which caught the attention of authorities. "We normally don't respond to tar balls because they're naturally occurring in most cases around here," Rick Bandelin of the Ventura County Environmental Health Division told the Ventura County Star.

Crews were dispatched to the beaches Friday, picking up tar balls. Oil was spotted as far north as Faria Beach, down to Hollywood Beach near Oxnard. Although the source of the oil has yet to be determined, a spokesman with Plains All-American Pipelines, the company that owns the ruptured pipeline from the Refugio Beach spill, said on Friday they were assisting with the cleanup in Ventura County.

"Testing will be done to determine the source of the oil, but for now, our primary concern is clearing it from our beaches," a spokesman with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department told KEYT. The source of the South Bay spill from earlier in the week has also yet to be determined, as authorities wait for test results.

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Unlike the South Bay spill, authorities did not close the Ventura County beaches and according to NBC 4 all beaches in the area remained open as of Saturday afternoon. In the South Bay, beaches from El Segundo south to Redondo Beach were reopened Friday evening after two days of cleanup. "There doesn’t appear to be a significant threat to public health or wildlife in Ventura County at this point," said Chris Stephens of the Ventura County Resource Management Agency.

Beachgoers are being advised to avoid touching any tar balls if they come across any, and to report them to the Coast Guard at (800) 424-8802.