Cleanup of oily goo could allow California beaches to reopen

29 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Authorities eye reopening of goo-struck California beaches.

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (AP) – A 7-mile stretch of Southern California coastline that was closed to swimmers and surfers after globs of oily goo washed ashore could reopen Friday after a two-day cleanup effort. MANHATTAN BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Cleanup efforts continued Thursday to remove a petroleum-based substance that washed ashore several beaches near The Strand.South Bay beaches were expected to remain closed Friday morning as cleanup crews worked through the night to remove tar balls that had washed ashore, officials said. — Seven miles of shutdown Southern California beaches, their surf made sticky by an oily goo of mysterious origin, could soon reopen if cleanup continues at the current clip.

US Coast Guard and state officials said samples of tar and water would be analysed to identify where the material originated, but it could take days to get the results. Workers scooped up truckloads – about 30 cubic yards – of sandy tar balls and patties that began washing up Wednesday but had mostly dissipated by Thursday. Authorities have subsequently closed a 6.5-mile stretch of the shoreline from the El Segundo jetty to the Torrance/Redondo Beach border, as a precaution.

There is a refinery and offshore oil tanker terminal nearby but the Coast Guard did not find a sheen from a possible spill after the tar started to accumulate. Nothing has been ruled out, including last week’s coastal oil spill that created a 26sq km slick about 160.9km to the north-west off the Santa Barbara County coast.

Lifeguards chased a handful of surfers out of the water yesterday but beach life was otherwise normal for people exercising, playing volleyball, skating and riding bikes along the shore. At this time, officials have confirmed the product is not natural seepage, however, they expect it to take a few days for results of the samples to be returned. The spill released as much as 101,000 gallons of crude from a Plains All American pipeline, and an estimated 21,000 gallons of oil spewed into the Pacific.

Two hours later, the tar washed ashore with the surf and coated two miles of sand between 34th Street in Manhattan Beach and Longfellow Avenue in Hermosa Beach. He said surfers are used to seeing bits of tar in the water and on the shore from natural seafloor seepage but the amount that came in Wednesday was concerning. Tar on the local beach is not uncommon due to natural seepage, said Lifeguard Section Chief Chris Linkletter of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

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