South Bay beaches from the El Segundo jetty down to the Redondo Beach-Torrance border remained closed Thursday after a slick of an unidentified tar-like substance washed up in Manhattan Beach on Wednesday morning. Lifeguards witnessed the unknown petroleum product make landfall at 10 a.m. and wash in with the surf until noon Wednesday. The beaches are closed from the lifeguard towers west to the ocean as a precaution until further notice, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) has posted signs in the affected areas.

The sand east of the lifeguard towers remains open for public use. “Beach users are advised to avoid contact with the material washed on shore, the water and wet sand,” according to the DPH website. “Contact with oil may cause skin irritation and long-term health effects.” The U.S. Coast Guard, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, Los Angeles County Fire Department Health Hazardous Materials Division, Los Angeles County Beaches & Harbors, and DPH have collected samples and are investigating the cause, composition and source of the unknown substance. FULL REPORT