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Major oil spill hits Orange County coast, California


A major oil spill, believed to have originated from a pipeline leak, hit parts of California's Orange County, including Huntington Beach on October 2, 2021. The event triggered coastal closures and emergency responses. Wildlife officials warned residents not to approach wildlife affected by the oil slick.

The U.S. Coast Guard and California State officials are responding to a 21 km (13 miles) long oil slick just 5 km (3 miles) off the coast of Newport Beach.

Residents reported a horrible odor coming from the beach, and authorities closed Huntington Beach from the Santa Ana River jetty to the pier Saturday night, according to a tweet from the city. The closure comes in the middle of the Pacific Air Show in Huntington Beach and just days after the U.S. Open of Surfing.1

Huntington Beach city spokesperson, Jennifer Carey, said the slick is believed to originated from a pipeline leak, pouring 473 000 liters (125 000 gallons) into the coastal waters and seeping into the Talbert Marsh.2

"We classify this as a major spill, and it is a high priority to us to mitigate any environmental concerns. It’s all hands on deck," Carey said. 

Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley, whose district includes Huntington Beach, said Saturday oil has already washed up on the Huntington Beach beachfront. "We’ve started to find dead birds and fish washing up on the shore."

"Tonight I joined local and state officials to update the community on the oil spill hitting Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. All agencies, including environmental and wildlife, are working together to mitigate the damage and reduce the impact to our beautiful coast."

"In order to facilitate clean-up efforts, and given the potential health impacts, the decision has been made to cancel the final day of the Pacific Airshow due to yesterday's oil spill. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you in advance for your understanding," the City of Huntington Beach said.

YouTube video

YouTube video


1 13-Mile Oil Slick Hits Orange County Beaches, Prompting Closures – Patch

2 Major oil spill hits Orange County coast after 126,000 gallons leak from pipeline – Los Angeles Times

Featured image credit: Supervisor Katrina Foley (@SupervisorFoley)


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