There are no beach closures at this point, but DHEC has warned people to avoid exposure to the water in certain areas off the coast near Charleston until an oil spilled has been cleaned up.
Coast Guard Environmental Response Officer Lt. Jim Litzinger says their investigator says tar has washed ashore on Sullivans Island, Folly Beach and the North End of Kiawah Island. The tar can cause severe reactions in people, if ingested.
Litzinger says their crews have been flying over the area on a daily basis, and more tan 50 contractors are currently working on the problem. Litzinger says the Coast Guard is also doing beach inspections. “We haven’t found the source of the spill yet. We’re now using SCATS, Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Teams, walking the breaches everyday, removing any product they find to minimize any affect on the environment.”
The Coast Guard is investigating the source of the spill but Litzinger says this is not likely from the downed F-16 that crashed in the area late last week. Since the area is a heavy shipping area, they suspect it to be from ship engine oil.
The U.S. Coast Guard advises that local residents and beach goers should not attempt to remove or clean up any tar or petroleum products located in or around the beach, and that anyone should report any significant sighting of oil on beaches or in marshes or other areas. Call the Charleston area Coast Guard.