Beaches, parks, and other recreational areas near the leak remain under soft-closing orders on Sunday for more than a week after an offshore pipeline leaked oil into the waters off Huntington Beach.
Offshore recovery teams reported Saturday that they had not seen oil floating freely in the water for three consecutive days.
The gentle closures for Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach State Park, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Laguna Royale Beach, Bolsa Chica State Park, Aliso Beach, West Street Beach, Thousand Steps Beach, Table Rock Beach, and Crystal Cove State Beach mean the Beaches open, but the waterline and waterline are closed.
Salt Creek Beach, Strands Beach, and Baby Beach in Dana Point were also open with water advice.
City of Huntington Beach
This graphic shows the OC beach closings from October 7, 2021.
Protective-equipped cleaning assessment teams monitored, inspected and cleaned beaches in Orange and San Diego counties, and officials warned the public not to handle balls of tar they might encounter in the sand.
Visitors were warned not to touch balls of tar that they might encounter in the sand. Oil contains dangerous chemicals and beach goers who encounter balls of tar are encouraged to email [email protected]. In the event of skin contact, it is recommended that the area be washed with soap and water or baby oil and avoiding the use of solvents, gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, or similar products on the skin. Officials say these products, when applied to the skin, pose a greater health risk than the tar ball itself.
According to data provided by the Unified Command, which is doing the cleanup, on Saturday afternoon:
- To date, a total of 5,544 gallons of crude oil have been recovered by ship.
- 13.5 barrels of tar balls were recovered on Friday.
- About 232,500 pounds. of oily debris was salvaged from shorelines.
- 11,400 feet of containment booms were strategically deployed.
Officials also said a temporary flight restriction was lifted on Friday.
U.S. Coast Guard Captain Jason Neubauer said Friday an underwater oil pipeline in southern California was hit by an anchor likely for several months to a year before a major leak spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil.
The leak was reported on the morning of Saturday, October 2, a few miles off the coast of Huntington Beach, although some boaters reported smelling something in the water on Friday.
Authorities originally estimated that up to 144,000 gallons of oil could have leaked from the damaged pipeline, but officials said Thursday the actual amount is likely much lower, although there is still no fixed number. At a press conference Thursday afternoon, USCG Capt. Rebecca Ore reported that approximately 588 barrels of oil had leaked, which would be approximately 24,700 gallons.
That counts as the minimum amount that has been leaked, but officials were unsure of a possible maximum number.