Wednesday, April 17, 2024

There’s a shiny layer of oil near Huntington Beach in Southern California, and the Coast Guard thinks it’s probably just some nearby natural oil

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The US Coast Guard mentioned on Monday that the cause of the shiny stuff found in the water near Huntington Beach in Southern California last week seems to be “a bit old crude oil,” not gas or diesel.

They first noticed the sheen on Thursday and, by the weekend, cleanup teams had taken out around 85 gallons of oily stuff from the water, just off the coast of Huntington Beach. This place is known for its beaches and is sometimes called Surf City USA. They also removed about 1,050 pounds of oily waste, sand, and tar balls from the shoreline.

When local officials did a helicopter check on Saturday morning, they couldn’t see any more oil sheen, according to a post on the City of Huntington Beach’s Facebook page.

Even though they couldn’t pinpoint where the oil came from after checking samples, the early results suggest it’s similar to the oil usually found around there, not the kind brought in from outside California.

The incident is thought to be a one-time thing, and lifeguards will keep an eye out for any tarballs on the beach.

Last week’s oil sheen was about half a mile wide and roughly 2.5 miles long, about 1.5 miles from the coast.

On Friday, they managed to remove about 85% of the sheen before stopping for the evening because of rough sea conditions.

Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said on Friday that the oil spill in Huntington Beach is under control, protections are in place for the wetlands and marshes, and the cleanup is ongoing.

They found one bird, a grebe, with oil on it during the search for affected wildlife.

Nearby cities like Newport Beach, Long Beach, and Laguna Beach are also keeping an eye out for any impact on their shores from the oil.

This incident comes a little over two years after a big spill of about 131,000 gallons of oil in the same area, which led to the closure of beaches for about a week.

Amplify Energy, the company that owns the oil pipeline connected to the 2021 spill, mentioned on Monday that they are confident the current sheen has nothing to do with their operations. They reported a small release of produced water from Platform Elly on March 8th but said it doesn’t match what was seen in the sheen. They’re working with the US Coast Guard and other authorities to help in any way they can.

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