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Authorities announce cleanup of October’s oil spill off Orange County complete

Cleanup efforts have concluded for the early October oil spill off Huntington Beach from a pipeline leak, officials announced Tuesday.

“After sustained cleanup operations,” officials with the Unified Command that led the efforts said, “affected shoreline segments have been returned to their original condition.”

The U. S. Coast Guard, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response and the counties of Orange and San Diego counties all collaborated on the unified effort, which will now enter a “transition period.”

There will be monitoring for additional tar balls along shorelines and other oiling incidents, and, if needed, sampling will be done of any new sheens spotted on the water to determine the source.

In recent weeks, teams have responded to a couple of spotted oil sheens to determine where the substances originated and if they were tied to the October spill.

Cleanup crews are prepared to respond to further signs of oil, and shoreline monitoring will continue to take place, officials said. The public is asked to report any sizable sightings of oil or oily debris to the National Response Center hotline at 800-424-8802.

The multi-agency response to the spill formed Oct 2, after reports of an oil spill starting the previous day. More than 1,800 people were involved in the cleanup, officials said.

“As we stand down this Unified Command, it’s imperative that we applaud the hundreds of dedicated responders who rushed in with their experience and expertise early on and remained committed over the course of the response,” Christian Corbo, patrol lieutenant with Fish and Wildlife who served as the state’s on-scene coordinator, said in Tuesday’s announcement. “The strong partnership between federal, state and local agencies also proved crucial in the mass coordination of efforts to clean up our beaches and shorelines. We are grateful to all the dedicated scientists, wildlife care experts, technical specialists and law enforcement personnel who commit themselves to protecting our natural resources.”

The sand and debris contaminated by the oil has been disposed of in a special landfill designed for petroleum-contaminated material, officials said.

The pipeline that cracked and leaked an estimated 25,000 gallons remains shut down.

The Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has approved owner Amplify Energy’s proposal for repairing the pipeline and flushing the system.

A temporary repair has been completed and representatives from PHMSA, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the State Fire Marshal will oversee flushing operations to remove the remaining product from the line, Tuesday’s announcement said.

“This response was a true team effort – one that included the commitment and dedication of federal, state and local agencies along with our response team. As members of this community, we remain steadfast in our commitment to safe operations and environmental compliance and stewardship,” said Dan Steward, vice president of Amplify Energy’s Beta Offshore operations, a wholly owned subsidiary.

Community members impacted by the oil spill that closed beaches and harbors  for several days and fishing in the area for several weeks who need to file a claim can call 866-985-8366.

An active investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board is ongoing independent of this response, officials said.

Source: Orange County Register

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