A nearly nine-mile stretch of shoreline from El Segundo to Redondo Beach was closed Wednesday when clumps of tar washed ashore, and dozens of cleanup contractors were working overnight to clear the popular beaches, authorities said.
About 12:30 p.m., a black, tar-like substance had coated parts of the sand between 34th Street in Manhattan Beach and Longfellow Avenue in Hermosa Beach, according to Lidia Barillas, a Los Angeles County ocean lifeguard specialist.
The county Department of Public Health swiftly shut down a two-mile section of the affected beaches, but by the evening, officials had expanded the closure to cover nearly all of the South Bay.
About six miles southwest off the coast of Manhattan Beach, a separate patch of tar was also located, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael Anderson said.
It was unclear if the patch of "tar patties" was related to those that had washed ashore.
As of Wednesday evening, officials had not located the source of what they are calling an unknown "petroleum product." Federal, state and local Investigators were examining whether the clumps of tar were connected with last week's oil spill on the Santa Barbara County coast, where about 21,000 gallons of crude flowed into the ocean.
Results of tests on the tar were expected Thursday. In the meantime, officials advised beachgoers to avoid the water.
As of Wednesday night, there were no reports of the tar affecting marine life, officials said.