Tar balls believed to be from the undersea gusher in the Gulf of Mexico have reached the shores of Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain, a foundation that monitors the watershed reported Monday.
The affected area covers a stretch of up to five miles near the city of Slidell, east of New Orleans, said Anne Rheams, executive director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. She estimated the amount of oil that has reached the lake at less than 100 barrels, and there was no sign of impact to wildlife as of Monday.
"They are about the size of a silver dollar, maybe a little bigger, kind of dispersed in long intervals. It's not as dense as it could be, so we're thankful for that," Rheams said.
Researchers have estimated that between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels (1.5 million to 2.5 million gallons) of oil have been gushing from a BP oil well into the Gulf daily since April 20, when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank off the coast of Louisiana.