Newport Beach officials announced Monday morning they were shutting down the city harbor to prevent any contamination from the oil spill over the weekend, the last city in Orange County to shut down their waterfront.
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
Questions on how and when the spill started are still up in the air, and officials have shut down the pipeline but do not know where the leak originated. The last estimates on the spill’s size put it at over 126,000 gallons as of early Sunday morning, at which point the pipeline was still leaking. There has been no update as to the total size of the spill since then, but the pipeline has been shut off.
So far, the unified task force led by the Coast Guard had fished out 3,250 gallons of oil as of 8 a.m. Monday. Fourteen boats, four aircraft and three shoreline assessment teams were dispatched, and 5,360 feet of boom was put out to block as much oil as possible from reaching the coast according to Sunday press releases.
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 has yet entered the harbor, officials say 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.”
Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NBiesiada.