La Brea Tar Pits outside Los Angeles is famous for the prehistoric animals trapped in the tar. The natural oil seep has been a boon to paleontologists looking to study the fauna of the last ice age as well as a popular tourist destination.
However, when it rains, the oil is washed into nearby Ballona Creek. The unsightly oil pollution has to be cleaned up before it can be released into the ocean and this has cost Los Angeles County quite a bit of money in fines.
Oil slicks from the tar pits in the past have caused significant damage to the local plants and wildlife.
Earlier this month, the county decided to build a new treatment system that will clean the water before dumping it into the sewer system at a cost of $2 million.
Natural sources of pollution do occur. It’s just as important to clean those up as it is to clean up manmade sources of pollution.
Oil slick at La Brea Tar Pits photo via Shutterstock