About five miles off Huntington Beach in Orange County, the breach was the equivalent of an estimated 3,000 barrels — or 126,000 gallons — of post-production crude oil, local officials said.
Divers have been inspecting the 17-mile pipeline in hopes of finding the exact source for the leak, but the leak appears to have stopped, officials said at a news conference Sunday.
Parts of the beach at Huntington Beach were closed Saturday, with Mayor Kim Carr describing Sunday’s leak as a “potential environmental disaster.”
“In a year, it is filled with incredibly challenging issues, and this oil spill is one of the most devastating situations our community has handled in decades,” Carr said. “We do everything we can to protect the health and safety of our residents, our visitors and our natural habitats.”
Orange County Superintendent Katrina Foley said the dead birds and fish were washed ashore Sunday.
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) said Sunday night that 3,000 gallons of oil had been removed from the water.
“Fourteen boats carried out oil recovery operations on Sunday afternoon … four planes were sent for over-flight assessment. The coastal response was conducted by 105 government agency employees,” the USCG said.
The cause of the leak is under investigation
Wilsher said the company is working with a number of local, state and federal agencies on recovery efforts.
“Our staff live and work in these communities, and we are all deeply affected and concerned about the impact not only on the environment, but also on fish and wildlife,” Wilsher said. “We will do everything we can to ensure this is recovered as soon as possible. We will not do that until it is over.”
Wilsher said when Coast Guard personnel checked the line Saturday morning, they noticed a gleam in the water.
Wilsher said the Billion operating facilities were built in the late 1970s and early 1980s and are inspected every year, including during the epidemic.
“The pipe is sucked in at both ends to expel the extra crude,” Wilsher said, adding that he did not expect more oil to be released.
The cause of the leak is unknown.
Eric Login, public information officer for the California Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, told a news conference Sunday, “We are still searching for and evaluating the source. There does not appear to be a fuel leak, but we are still working to identify it.”
The Federal Security and Environmental Enforcement Agency (BSEE) told CNN that the USCG-led response to the oil spill would help.
In a statement on Sunday, BSEE said its role was to “identify the location and source of any leaks and provide technical assistance to the integrated command in preventing leaks.”
Implications for human health
At the health consultation, Dr Clayton Chaw, county health officer at the Orange County Health Care Agency, said the effects of exposure to the oil would vary and anyone experiencing adverse symptoms should contact their doctor.
“Even if an oil lubrication is not visible, dissolved and dissolved oil contaminants may be present in the water,” Chaw said.
Skin, eye, nose and throat irritation, headache, dizziness, vomiting or shortness of breath may be symptoms of overexposure to oil or spills, the company said.
“Inhalation of toxic oil vapor or other aerosolized oil mixture particles from wind waves can cause these side effects. The elderly, children and people with respiratory diseases such as asthma are more likely to have adverse side effects from inhaling oil vapor,” the company said.
CNN’s Sonnet Swire, Claudia Dominguez and Cherie Mosberg contributed to the report.
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