Huntington Beach, Calif. (AP) — One of the largest oil spills in recent Southern California history eroded popular beaches and killed wildlife, while crews stopped crude on Sunday before it spilled into protected wetlands .
At least 126,000 gallons (572,807 liters) of oil spilled into Orange County waters. Statement From downtown Huntington Beach.
“The spill has significantly affected Huntington Beach, with substantial ecological impacts to be had on the beach and Huntington Beach wetlands,” the statement said.
Oil sparkled a mile wide in the sea and washed ashore in sticky, black globules with dead birds and fish. Crews, led by the US Coast Guard, deployed skimmers and floating barriers known as booms to try to prevent further infiltration into the wetlands and the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.
The closure extends to the Santa Ana River pier about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) south of the Huntington Beach Pier during the summer, which would have brought beach-goers to volleyball, swimming, and surfing.
Officials canceled the final day of the annual Pacific Air Show, which normally draws thousands of spectators to Huntington Beach, a city of about 199,000 residents about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of downtown Los Angeles. The show featured flyovers by the US Navy Blue Angels and US Air Force Thunderbirds.
Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said the oil slick originated from a broken pipeline connected to an offshore oil platform called Alley. Twitter.
Foley said Newport Beach Mayor Brad Avery told him he encountered an oil spill while traveling from Santa Catalina Island back to the mainland. “He saw dolphins swimming through the oil,” Foley tweeted.
“While the leak is not completely closed, preliminary patching to repair the oil spill site has been completed,” said a Huntington Beach statement early Sunday, adding that additional repairs are planned.
The spill comes three decades after a massive oil spill in the same part of the Orange County coast. On February 7, 1990, the oil tanker American Trader ran over its anchorage at Huntington Beach, spilling about 417,000 gallons (1.6 million liters) of crude oil. Fish and about 3,400 birds were killed.
In 2015, a broken pipeline north of Santa Barbara sent 143,000 gallons (541,313 liters) of crude oil to Refugio State Beach.
At a news conference Saturday night, Orange County officials expressed concern about the environmental impacts of the spill and hoped that crews could stop the oil before it flows into the sensitive wetlands.
“We are working with our federal, state and county partners to help reduce the impact of a potential ecological disaster,” said Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr.
According to Ben Smith, an Orange County biologist and environmental consultant, Huntington State Beach is home to many species of birds, including gulls, willets, long-billed Fletchers, elegant juveniles and the scarlet egret, which is rare on the West Coast. . .
A construction project is planned at the mouth of the Santa Ana River, which flows into the ocean at the border of Huntington State Beach and Newport Beach.
“There’s tar everywhere,” he said Los Angeles Times. “You’d think by now we’d know how to prevent things like this from happening, but I don’t think so.”
This story has been updated to correct the metric conversion in the second paragraph to 572,807 liters, not 98,420 liters.