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Office of Emergency Response

Tampa Bay Oil Spill Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released the final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment stemming from the 1993 Tampa Bay Spill.

The plan, which describes the human use and recreational losses from the spill, identifies 14 restoration projects to address the lost recreational use of the bay's shorelines, shellfish beds and surface waters. Pending final approval, the selected projects will be funded with $2.5 million recovered from claims arising from the spill.

Tar Ball Information

What Are They?

Tar balls are fragments or lumps of oil weathered to a semi-solid or solid consistency, feel sticky, and are difficult to remove from contaminated surfaces. They are formed through the combining of viscous hydrocarbons with debris that is present in the water column. They range in size from a pinhead to approximately 30 centimeters in diameter.

Where Do They Come From?

Reportable Incident

Hazardous Materials

  • Petroleum-based spills.
  • Spills into or involving state waterways (any amount).
  • Spills greater than 25 gallons (or potential > 25 gallons).
  • Spills requiring any state/federal notifications or assistance.
  • Chemical spills.
  • All SARA/EHS/CERCLA releases.
  • All spills threatening population or the environment.
  • All spills requiring evacuation.



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