GRAYLAND, Wash.—The state is ramping up efforts to look for potential tsunami debris on the Washington coast.
The Department of Ecology deployed three six-person crews on southwest Washington beaches Monday afternoon.
An ecology spokesperson said the department wants a “thorough assessment” of the items washing up on Washington and Oregon beaches.
The state decided it was time to increase efforts after the number of potential debris sightings started to increase. The crews hope to check all the beaches from the Oregon-Washington border up north to Moclips this week.
It is not clear if the crews will continue working on the beaches after this week.
Who is going to pay for the cleanup remains unknown. Governor Chris Gregoire, D-Washington, said last week she has asked the federal government to pay for all cleanup costs. A spokesperson for the governor said Monday the state has not heard back about that request.
The cleanup crews are costing about $13,000 for their work this week.
Workers from Ecology and the Washington Conservation Corps will be looking at popular beaches as well as spots that are harder to get too.
“There’s some big gaps in between too where they don’t know yet if anything has washed up yet,” said Ecology employee Shawn Zaniewski.
Anyone who finds debris on the beach that might be from Japan is encouraged to call the state’s hotline at 1-800-OILS-911.