Children, swimmers “COVERED” in oil that “stuck to their skin”; Mayor says “Beaches are clean, safe” (VIDEO)

Coast Guard examines new reports of oil on Galveston beach, KENS Channel 5 San Antonio, July 9, 2010:

A U.S. Coast Guard crew collected small oil samples entangled in freshwater plants that washed ashore Thursday on Galveston Island near 51st and 53rd streets.

Child's arm covered in oil (KENS)

A portion of the beach in front of the San Luis Resort was sectioned off as samples of the caramel-colored material were being gathered.

Swimmers reported coming out of the water covered in a sticky substance. … reporter Jeremy Desel estimated that 10 gallons [approximately 80 lbs.] of the material were removed from the beach.

Galveston’s beaches are clean, safe, and open,” Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski said. “We are concerned about the material found tonight on our shoreline, but praise our federal, state, and local partners for their immediate response and clean-up.”

Partial transcript of the complete KENS report:

Reports intially came in to the Galveston Beach Patrol of people coming out of the water with something sticky on them. …

“We started looking at the seaweed and it was covered in it,” said a beachgoer.

Fresh oily substance found in Galveston; beaches still open
, KHOU Houston, July 9, 2010:

Beachgoers told The Daily News the dark, orange substance that stuck to their skin smelled like oil and didn’t wash off easily.

Sporadic spots of oil were found on the beach between 51st and 53rd streets. Some were the size of silver dollars, others were 4-inches wide and some coated vegetation that had washed ashore.

The product likely was a hydrocarbon from a fresh but yet unknown source, Richard Arnhart, regional director for the Texas General Land Office’s oil spill response unit, said. …

Peter Davis of the Beach Patrol said the hydrilla is a common plant, but he’s never seen it covered in that material before. …

“If they shut down the beach, then I guess I’d be worried, but until they do that, we’re just gonna keep having fun,” tourist Chris Butts said.

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