Another Oil Spill Comes to Huntington Beach

By Jon LeSage
CLEANUP CREWS did their best to rid Huntington Beach of oily waste and tar that’s washed up since another oil spill hit the coastline earlier this month. Photo source: U.S. Coast Guard.

If you’ve been to Huntington Beach this month and observed a beach cleanup similar to the one that took place in October 2021, there is a reason for it.

While less severe than the 126,000-gallon oil spill from an offshore rig two-and-a-half years ago, it is coming from a similar source. The two-mile-long oil sheen spotted offshore from Huntington Beach by the Coast Guard on March 7 has been caused by lightly weathered crude oil. 

That finding comes from a preliminary lab test result from the state’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, part of the Department of Fish and Wildlife. It’s not a refined oil product, such as gasoline or diesel, but the lab was unable to definitively identify the oil source.

The U.S. Coast Guard made this report on March 11. United Command, a group of several agencies that combine efforts to contain oil off the coast, responded to the discovery of the oil sheen on March 7 and worked with the Coast Guard. United Command had been started after the 2021 oil spill. 

The Coast Guard also reported on March 11 that about 85 gallons of product from offshore recovery efforts and about 1,050 pounds of oily waste/sand and tar balls were removed by cleanup crews over the weekend of March 9-10.

The oil sheen was initially spotted about 1.5 miles off the coast of Huntington Beach. Coast Guard said it had recovered about 85% of the sheen so far, as of March 11.

More details on the spill will be released later. The exact cause of the oil spill has yet to be determined.

“In the face of this environmental challenge, the strength of our partnerships has once again proven to be our greatest asset. The Coast Guard, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s, Office of Spill Prevention and Response, and our local Orange County agencies and departments mobilized swiftly to mitigate the impact of the oil sheen off Huntington Beach,” said Capt. Ryan Manning, the federal on-scene coordinator for the response. 

City of LB Responds

The City of Long Beach has been closely monitoring the oil spill situation. As of March 8, the city didn’t anticipate any impacts to the Long Beach coastline or local waterways. If anything changes, protective measures will be initiated promptly to mitigate the situation and safeguard the environment and community, the city said. 

The Long Beach Fire Department’s Marine Safety Division has been patrolling areas along the shoreline to monitor possible impact from the oil spill. The City’s Departments of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Communications, Fire, Health and Human Services and Port of Long Beach are closely monitoring the situation, the city said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric that the Oct. 1, 2021, oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach came from a leak in pipeline P00547. That pipeline was associated with the offshore platform “Elly,” owned by Beta Offshore, a subsidiary of Amplify Energy. The pipeline may have sustained damage from a ship’s anchor being dragged, according to the federal agency. 

 

Jon LeSage is a resident of Long Beach and a veteran business media reporter and editor. You can reach him at jtlesage1@yahoo.com.

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