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Coast Guard: California oil spill likely 25,000 gallons


A Coast Guard official said the amount of crude oil spilled in an offshore pipeline leak in Southern California would be close to 25,000 gallons, only about a fifth of what officials initially feared.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif .– The amount of crude oil spilled in an offshore pipeline leak in Southern California is estimated at nearly 25,000 gallons, only about a fifth of what officials initially feared, a responsible for the coast guard.

The leak off the coast of Orange County was previously estimated to be at least 25,000 gallons (94,635 liters) and no more than 132,000 gallons (499,674 liters). The final spill tally will likely be closer to the lower figure, which correlates with the amount of oiling seen on the California coast, Coast Guard Captain Rebecca Ore said.

“We are confident the spill quantity is around 588 barrels,” she told reporters in Newport Beach. “This number can potentially adjust a small degree.”

The spill off Huntington Beach was confirmed on October 2, a day after residents reported an odor of oil in the area.

Coast Guard officials said it came from a leak in a pipeline owned by Houston-based Amplify Energy, which carries crude from offshore platforms to the coast. Officials said the cause of the leak was still under investigation, but the pipeline was likely damaged by a ship’s anchor several months to a year before it broke.

The shores of Huntington Beach, known as “Surf City USA,” and nearby Newport Beach were closed until Monday.

Fishing has also been banned off the coast of Orange County. State officials are taking samples of fish from the area to assess whether they have been affected by the oil before allowing fishing to resume.

Protective gear workers continue to comb the sand for tarballs that wash up over 70 miles of coastline in Orange and San Diego counties. Roy Kim, an environmental specialist with the California Office of Spill Prevention and Response, said the tar balls collected from beaches had shrunk in the first few days after the spill.

“They saw huge patties of oil at first,” Kim said, adding that the oil slick had been largely broken up into tarballs by tides and winds. “Now you only see the little things. “

Crews are also working to remove oil from rocky coastal habitat while being careful not to damage it, he said.

Some of the oil is naturally present off the coast of southern California and residents are used to seeing tar on beaches, said Lt. Christian Corbo of California Fish and Wildlife. Tar samples collected during the cleanup will be sent to a state petroleum chemistry lab to determine if they came from the spill, he said.

In the next few days, workers will likely begin to assess beach conditions in specific areas to determine if the cleanup is complete, Ore said.

While it is still possible for tarballs to escape from the spill after this point – and officials will continue to respond to reports that come in – “at some point, and we’re evaluating that right now, we’re reaching a point where we recommend not to additional treatment on segments of the range, ”she said.