Dana Point Harbor was closed at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the latest closures intended to protect the public from exposure to and the spread of crude oil.
OC Oil Spill
- Authorities now estimate a spill size range between 25,000 gallons to a maximum of 131,000 gallons
- 5,544 gallons of oily water retrieved
- Approximately 172,500 pounds of oily debris has been recovered from shorelines
- 14,060 feet of boom laid to try to curb oil spread
- More than 900 people on the ground in cleanup effort
- General questions: 714-374-1702
- Do not approach affected wildlife, call in a report: 877-823-6926
- Assist with animals: 714-374-5587
- Help with cleanups: 714-374-1702
- File a claim: 866-985-8366
The closure joins Newport Harbor’s 11 a.m. Monday closure and 23 miles of coastline now restricted to the public as oil spreads and shifts.
Huntington Beach was the first city to shut down their coastline on Saturday night from the Huntington Beach pier to the Santa Ana, while Laguna Beach and Crystal Cove State Beach followed suit on Sunday night as the oil moved further south.
While Newport Beach did release an advisory on Saturday urging people to stay out of the water, they left the harbor open to incoming and outgoing ship traffic with a note that they would continue to monitor the situation.
But on Monday morning, they said they were closing their doors. While no oil had yet entered Newport’s harbor, officials said Monday that the decision was made to prevent any accidental leakage in the harbor. Vessels can continue to move in the harbor, but cannot enter or exit.
“The idea of an environmental disaster like this is you want to contain the spread, so having vessels that are not involved in the response potentially in the contaminant is only spreading it,” said Linda Bui, a professor of environmental services at Louisiana State University who’s also studied the Bolsa Chica Wetlands area that’s under threat before the harbor was closed.
“If I were them, I’d operate under extreme caution and my opinion is they’re not,” Bui said before Newport announced an official closure of beaches and the harbor.
The Dana Point Harbor closure also includes Baby Beach within the harbor. Boats will not be allowed to enter or leave the harbor, impacted boaters are now being advised to instead head to Huntington Beach Harbour or Long Beach Harbor.
Here’s a list of what is closed across Orange County:
HARBORS: Dana Point Harbor and Newport Beach Harbor (Remaining open: Long Beach and Huntington Beach harbors)
BEACHES: Salt Creek, Strands, Capistrano and Poche (due to construction), Bayside, Baby (inside Dana Point Harbor), Aliso, Laguna Royale, Tableroc, Thousand Steps, West Street, Huntington City, Huntington State and Newport.
COASTAL FISHERIES: Warner Avenue in Huntington Beach to Crown Valley Parkway in Dana Point, including shorelines and offshore areas and all bays and harbors between those points.
OFFSHORE FISHERIES: An extension of the coastal fishery closure points – inland by six miles (as shown on this map).
“Do not swim, surf or exercise near the spill,” said Dr. Clayton Chau, director of Orange County’s Public Health Agency.
He added that the oil is toxic to the touch and in the air. The health agency also issued a health advisory saying anyone with any of the following symptoms should visit their family physician.
- Skin, eye, nose and throat irritation
- Upset stomach
- Cough or shortness of breath
The Orange County oil spill was first widely reported Saturday, Oct. 2. Questions remain around how and when the spill started.
Officials say they have shut down the pipeline and no more oil is leaking.
The cleanup is being handled by a task force led by the US Coast Guard, along with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Amplify Energy, the operator of the burst pipeline. The cities of Long Beach, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach are assisting.
There is no set timeframe on when beaches will reopen, with Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr saying she’s heard “a few weeks to a few months.” No one from the task force has commented on when beaches will reopen or how long the recovery effort will take.