While the cleanup effort on the oil spill off the Orange County coast is heading into its fifth day, many Orange County residents are asking what they can do to help out. 

So far, all the public agencies involved have said they aren’t ready for volunteers along the beachfront, but opportunities may arise in the near future. 

Currently, they have 328 paid oil spill cleanup workers on the beach, with goals to increase responders in the near future to 1,500 according to Gov. Gavin Newsom during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

OC Oil Spill

Latest Figures
  • 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

Newsom said “we’re grateful” for a large number of people calling in wanting to help with recovery efforts. He said that officials are working on setting up infrastructure to handle incoming aid.

He also said those interested in helping with the cleanup will need to undergo a four hour training before they can get out on the beach. That training used to take 16 hours in previous spill cleanups.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife also has a volunteer form on their website, which can be accessed here.

The department is also encouraging anyone who finds wildlife not to touch them, but to call 1-877-823-6926 so that experts can come and help clean the animals. 

The Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping clean up and protect coastlines, is asking anyone interested in volunteering to text OILSPILL to 51555. 

Huntington Beach officials also asked those interested in donating to send funds to the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center, who are working to save impacted wildlife. But the agency noted that all cleanup costs for the oil spill are being handled by the joint task force.

For those who have questions about the spill itself, Huntington Beach has a hotline at 714-374-1702, and the Orange County Health Care Agency is fielding questions at 714-834-2000.

The worst impacts of the oil washing ashore are so far seen in Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. Currently, the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve has managed to keep out any oil from its waters, but the Talbert Marsh is experiencing “serious impacts,” due to the spill according to a Huntington Beach press release Tuesday evening.

Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him at nbiesiada@voiceofoc.org or on Twitter @NBiesiada.

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