Beaches to reopen Monday in Huntington Beach

HUNTINGTON BEACH — The city of Huntington Beach and California State Parks announced Sunday they will reopen city and state beaches in Huntington Beach on Monday morning.

The beaches were closed by the large oil spill that crews started to clean up last weekend.

The joint decision to reopen the beaches at 6 a.m. comes after water-quality testing results showed non-detectable amounts of oil-associated toxins in ocean water, Huntington Beach police spokeswoman Jennifer Carey said.

“The health and safety of our residents and visitors is of the utmost importance. We understand the significance our beaches have on tourism, our economy and our overall livelihood here in Huntington Beach,” said Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr. “It is important that our decision to reopen our shoreline and water be based on data and that we continue to monitor the water quality going forward.”

Officials continued to warn the public not to handle any tar balls they may encounter on the sand. Oil contains hazardous chemicals. If skin contact occurs, they are advised to wash the area with soap and water or baby oil and avoid using solvents, gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, or similar products on the skin. Officials say these products, when applied to skin, present a greater health hazard than the tar ball itself. Beachgoers who encounter tar balls were encouraged to email [email protected]

According to data provided Sunday afternoon by the Unified Command handling the cleanup effort:

More than 1,600 people are conducting response operations.
To date, 5,544 total gallons of crude oil have been recovered by vessel.
13.6 barrels of tar balls were recovered Saturday.
About 250,000 pounds of oily debris has been recovered from shorelines.
Two overflights were scheduled for Sunday.
11,400 feet of containment boom have been strategically deployed.

The Unified Command is headed by the U.S. Coast Guard and also includes officials from Orange County, San Diego County, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Amplify Energy Corp. — the owner of the damaged pipeline that leaked the oil.

Contracted cleanup teams were cleaning locations from Seal Beach down to San Onofre Beach, while officials were conducting water and soil sampling Sunday along San Onofre Beach.

Meanwhile, the Oiled Wildlife Care Network reported that its responders had recovered 58 species impacted by the spill as of Sunday, 50 birds and eight fish. Twenty-six of the birds were recovered alive, but all eight of the fish were dead.

The organization was doing extensive recovery from Long Beach Harbor down to Oceanside, field stabilization at the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach, and primary care at the Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care and Education Center — home to International Bird Rescue.

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