By Steve Large

LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) – A styrofoam spill at Lake Tahoe left lots of tiny plastic pellets coating a north shore beach this week.

Pictures of the spill were shared by a beachgoer on social media, and people seeking to keep Tahoe clean came out in droves to help contain the damage.

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The pictures were posted on social media by a Lake Tahoe researcher and got an instant reaction.

“That kind of sent the flair up,” said Chris Joseph, with Keep Tahoe Blue.

The organization was one of many that got to work on the quick clean-up effort.

“Thousands of fish egg-sized, tiny polystyrene, also called styrofoam, balls, which is a petroleum-based plastic product, just littering the beach,” Joseph said. “Maybe tens of thousands of them.”

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Cleanup crews discovered a torn flotation device was the source of the spill. People used all sorts of homemade tools to get the plastic out of the water.

“They literally had kitchen colanders and sieves, and rakes, and just something with a fine grain mesh that could sift the water and sand out of these tiny little balls,” Joseph said.

Joseph said Keep Tahoe Blue identified several stores selling the hazardous flotation devices.

“Called them up and let them know of a problem and potential risk, and they, this week, yanked them from their shelves,  knowing that they weren’t going to be able to replace that stock, which is super high demand for a weekend like this,” he said.

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There is a post-Fourth of July cleanup up on Lake Tahoe Monday morning. Keep Tahoe Blue will be cleaning up trash on four different beaches around the lake starting at 8:30 a.m.