San Diegans can expect to see shoreline cleanup assessment teams and contracted crews equipped in protective gear monitoring, inspecting, and cleaning San Diego County beaches.
The following locations were being checked Sunday for any visible signs of oil:
- Oceanside Pier
- Carlsbad City Beach
- Batiquitos Lagoon
- Encinitas Beach
- Cardiff Beach
- San Elijo Beach
- Solana State Beach
- South Ponto Beach
On Sunday, water and soil sampling was being conducted along San Onofre Beach.
The Unified Command handling the response to the spill is headed by the U.S. Coast Guard and also includes officials from Orange County, San Diego County, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Amplify Energy Corp. — the company that owns the damaged pipeline that leaked the oil.
The public may encounter tar balls, which contain hazardous chemicals, when visiting the beach. They are warned to not handle any tar balls or oil. If beachgoers encounter tar balls, they are encouraged to email [email protected]
More than 1,600 people were conducting response operations and to date, 5,544 total gallons of crude oil have been recovered.
The leak was reported on the morning of Oct. 2 a few miles off the Huntington Beach coast, although some boaters reported smelling something in the water Friday.
Authorities initially estimated that as much as 144,000 gallons of oil may have leaked from the damaged pipeline, but officials said Thursday the actual amount is likely much lower, although there is still no firm number. At a news conference Thursday afternoon, USCG Capt. Rebecca Ore estimated that roughly 588 barrels of oil had spilled, which would equate to about 24,700 gallons. That’s being considered a minimum amount leaked, but officials were unsure of a possible maximum number.
Crews responded to the leak last Saturday morning, and several beaches in Orange County were quickly closed as authorities realized the size and scope of the oil slick.
Amplify CEO Martyn Willsher insisted the company was unaware of any release of oil into the ocean until about 8 a.m. Saturday, adding that the firm responded and reported the incident immediately.