DESTIN - "Tar chips" was the term Dr. Karen Chapman
used to describe what she
found washed up Thursday on a significant portion of the beaches in Destin.
Chapman, Okaloosa County's Health Department director, said she doesn't know how the chips were created, but does know they look significantly different from the tar balls and mats she saw last week on Okaloosa Island.
knew the presence of the chips, as another product of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill off Louisiana, made swimming in the area they were found unsafe.
said the appearance of the tar chips has caused her
and other area health officials to back off their strategy of posting swimming advisory signs when oil is found on local beaches and removing them when the coast clears
Instead, they're going to post more permanent health notice signs, she
said, and have lifeguards apprise beach goers on the safety of the water on any given day.
co-workers spent the day posting swimming advisory signs west from the Walton County line to Pelican Beach Resort, which itself lies just west of the Henderson Beach State Recreation Area.
"These chips were in a line, too numerous to count, in the breaking surf and on the wet sand, and it was impossible to find a stretch clear enough that we wouldn't post a sign," she
"At the Pelican Beach resort everything cleared up."
The advisory signs will be removed as soon as the health notice signs are created, she
The new signs will inform beach goers that the beach has been affected by an oil spill and health and safety information and current conditions can be obtained from a lifeguard, she