Huntington Beach Oil Spill

Oil Spilled From Offshore Pipeline Is Likely Less Than Initially Feared, Coast Guard Says

The updated estimate for the spill off Huntington Beach is closer 25,000 gallons

A seagull rests as workers in protective suits clean the contaminated beach after an oil spill
AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File

The amount of crude oil spilled in an offshore pipeline leak in Southern California is believed to be close to 25,000 gallons, or only about one-fifth of what officials initially feared, a Coast Guard official said Thursday.

The leak off the coast of Orange County was previously estimated to be at least 25,000 gallons and no more than 132,000 gallons . The final count for the spill will likely be closer to the lower figure, which correlates with the amount of oiling seen on the California shore, Coast Guard Capt. Rebecca Ore said Thursday.

Two birds covered in oil were cleaned and rehabilitated after the Huntington Beach oil spill. Vikki Vargas reports Oct. 13, 2021.

“We have a high degree of confidence that the spill amount is approximately 588 barrels,” she told reporters. “That number may potentially adjust a small degree.”

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The spill off Huntington Beach was confirmed on Oct. 2, a day after residents reported a petroleum smell in the area.

Workers in protective gear continue to comb the sand for oil washing ashore.

Roy Kim, an environmental scientist with California’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, said the size of tar balls being collected on coastal beaches has diminished from the early days after the spill. He said teams have been dispatched from Bolsa Chica State Beach in Huntington Beach to La Jolla in San Diego County.

The spill off Huntington Beach was confirmed on Oct. 2, a day after residents reported a petroleum smell in the area.

Coast Guard officials said it came from a pipeline owned by Houston-based Amplify Energy that shuttles crude from offshore platforms to the coast.

Officials have said the cause remains under investigation, and they believe the pipeline was likely damaged by a ship’s anchor several months to a year before it ruptured.

Huntington city and state beaches as well as the shoreline in neighboring Newport Beach were shut down until Monday.

Fishing also has been barred off the coast of Orange County. State officials are taking samples of fish from the area to assess whether they've been affected by the oil before allowing fishing to resume.

Workers in protective gear continue to comb the sand for tar balls washing ashore along more than 70 miles of coastline in Orange and San Diego counties.

Some oil is naturally present off the coast of Southern California and residents are used to seeing some tar on beaches, said California Fish and Wildlife Lt. Christian Corbo. Tar samples collected in the clean up will be sent to a state petroleum chemistry lab to determine whether they're from the spill.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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