The recent oil spill catastrophe in the gulf has cast new importance on the quality of the shore line and how that affects our lives. The cleanup effort has only just begun and mediation procedures are coming up short.
Quoted from http://www.waterencyclopedia.com/Oc-Po/Oil-Spills-Impact-on-the-Ocean.html
The fate of oil residues on shore depends on the spilled oil's composition and properties, the volume of oil that reaches the shore, the types of beach and coastal sediments and rocks contacted by the oil, the impact of the oil on sensitive habitats and wildlife, weather events, and seasonal and climatic conditions. Some oils evaporate, disperse, emulsify, weather, and decompose more easily than others. The weather and seasonal and climatic conditions may accelerate or delay these processes.
Since this is happening pre-hurricane season, the weather will only helping with minimal wave action and evaporation of the lighter hydrocarbons. This means that most of the toxic sludge will be floating its way onshore.
Oil waste that coalesces into a tar-like substance or that saturates sediments above the surf and tide level is especially persistent. Efforts to remove the oil and clean, decontaminate, and remediate an oil-impacted shoreline may make the area more visibly attractive, but may be more harmful than helpful in terms of actual recovery.