As officials work to keep an estimated 126,000 gallons of oil leaking into Orange County waters, cities along the coast are asking people to clean up their beaches.
Closures and advisories have been issued to prevent people from coming into contact with potentially contaminated water in Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. The spill was likely caused by a pipeline leak at a facility operated by Beta Offshore. The United States Coast Guard is leading the cleanup efforts.
The following beach closures and advisories have been issued:
- In Huntington Beach, city officials have closed beaches between the Santa Ana River Jetty and Seapoint Street, saying no to when the ocean and shoreline can reopen — or how long cleanup could take — at this point. But not clear.
- Officials in Newport Beach, where oil has been spotted on the beach between 52nd Street and the Santa Ana River, are advising people to stay out of the sea. According to a news release, the city’s beaches remain open, “with water advisories”. City spokesman John Pope said in an email that on Monday morning, officials closed Newport Harbor “to help prevent oil from entering”. The boats will not be able to enter or leave the port, but can operate inside it, he said. Also closed is Bayside Beach, which is located within the harbor. County officials said talks are underway to close more ports, possibly south of Newport Beach, and that sailors should prepare.
- A news release said that all county and city beaches in Laguna Beach have been closed to the public, and city officials are asking people to stay off the shore “and in beach areas or Pay attention to any closure or warning signs posted near him.” As of Sunday, oil had not yet been seen on its shoreline, although officials were preparing for it.
The Orange County Health Care Agency issued a health advisory on Sunday encouraging people who may have been exposed to the oil to see a doctor. County Health Officer Dr. Clayton Chow advised the public to stay away from activities near beaches such as “swimming, surfing, biking, walking, exercising, gathering, etc.”