Since oil first started washing up along the shore, almost all of Orange County’s beaches were put under a “soft” closure, allowing visitors to hang out on the sand as long as they kept out of the waves.

But as cleanup continues, beaches are beginning to reopen. 

Huntington Beach officials announced Sunday night their beaches were reopening Monday morning, marking an end to the longest beach closure over the oil spill since it closed the night of Oct. 2. 

Testing of both the ocean and nearby wetlands found “non-detectable amounts of oil associated toxins,” according to a news release issued by city officials. 

Engineering contracting firm Moffat & Nichol conducted tests at 40 different points along the coast from the Santa Ana River Jetty to Sunset Beach, with only one spot north of Warner Ave. that showed any detection of oil in the water. The oil was at a non-toxic level on Warner, according to the city’s release. 

The Huntington State Beach is also reopening following those tests. 

County operated beaches near Dana Point Harbor also reopened last Thursday, restoring access to Salt Creek Beach, Strands Beach and Baby Beach. The Capistrano and Poche beaches are still closed due to construction. 

Dana Point and Newport Harbors both reopened last week, with Dana Point officials declaring “There is no oil in Dana Point. All beaches in Dana Point are open.” 

[Read: Officials Reopen Dana, Newport Harbors as Authorities Scale Down Oil Spill Size Estimates]

Newport Beach announced their beaches had reopened at 2 p.m. Monday, saying they’d hired Eurofins Calscience to conduct a study of their water, which tested at 10 different locations. Two of those locations showed oil in the water, but at nontoxic levels.

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

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