The breach, reported Saturday, occurred about five miles off the coast of Huntington Beach in Orange County and spilled off along with approximately 3,000 barrels किंवा or 126,000 gallons ोत् of post-production crude, local officials said.
Divers are investigating the 17-mile pipeline in hopes of finding the exact source of the leak, but the leak appears to have stopped, officials said at a news conference Sunday.
The coastal section on Huntington Beach was closed on Saturday, with Mayor Kim Carr describing the spill on Sunday as a “potential environmental disaster.”
“In a year that is filled with incredibly challenging issues, this oil spill is one of the most devastating situations our society has handled in decades,” Carr said. “We are doing everything in our power to protect the health and safety of our residents, our visitors and our natural habitats.”
Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said Sunday that dead birds and fish were being washed ashore.
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 dispatched for overflight assessment. 105 government agency personnel responded to shore,” the USCG said.
The cause of the leak under investigation
Wilsher said the company is working with numerous 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 on fish and wildlife, not just the environment,” Wilsher said. “We will do everything in our power to ensure this is recovered as soon as possible and we will not be done until this is done.”
Wilsher said his company alerted the Coast Guard Saturday morning when staff were inspecting the line and saw a spark in the water.
Wilsher said the pipeline operating facilities were built in the late 1970s and early 1980s and are inspected every other year, including those during the epidemic.
“Both ends of the pipeline have been sucked in to keep the extra crude out,” Wilsher said, and he doesn’t expect to release much oil.
The cause of the leak is unknown.
“We’re still evaluating to find the source and figure it out. It doesn’t look like the fuel is leaking yet, but we’re still working to identify where we are,” California Fisheries and Wildlife Department Public Information Officer Eric Laughin told a news conference Sunday.
The Federal Bureau of Safety, Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) told CNN that it was assisting in the USCG-led response to the oil spill.
In a statement on Sunday, BSEE said its role is to “help identify the location and source of any leaks and provide technical assistance to the Unified Command to prevent leaks.”
Effects on human health
In the health advisory, the county health officer of the Orange County Health Care Agency, Dr. Clayton Chow said the effects of exposure to the oil can vary and anyone experiencing adverse symptoms should contact their doctor.
“Even though the oil’s luster may not be visible, the contaminants of the dissolved and dissolved oil may be in the water,” Chow said.
Symptoms of excessive exposure to oils or dispersants may include skin, eye, nose, and throat irritation, headache, dizziness, vomiting, or shortness of breath, the agency said.
“These side effects can be caused by toxic oil vapors or other aerosolic oil compound particles from wind-blown waves. The elderly, children and people with respiratory illnesses such as asthma are more susceptible to adverse side effects from inhaling oil vapors,” the agency said.
CNN’s Sonnet Swire, Claudia Dominguez and Cherry Mossberg contributed to the report.