Thursday, January 28, 2010

672-gallon oil spill fouls Huntington Beach channel

Crews are working to clean up an oil spill that dumped an estimated 672 gallons of crude oil last week into a Huntington Beach flood-control channel that drains to wetlands and the Pacific Ocean, authorities said Wednesday.

After getting reports of a petroleum odor Jan. 21, Orange County public works crews a day later discovered the spill in the Huntington Beach Channel east of Beach Boulevard and south of Adams Avenue, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"There was oil all the way across the channel from wall to wall," said Robert Wise, the EPA's on-scene coordinator. "As the tide went in and out, it just sloshed the oil up and down the walls of the channel."

The source of the spill is unknown, Wise said. The oil traveled 1.8 miles downstream, but it did not reach the Talbert wetlands or the ocean, he said.

A contractor hired by Orange County is cleaning up the spill by placing containment barriers in the 50-foot-wide, steel-lined channel and using vacuum trucks, absorbent materials and power washers to remove the oil. So far, Wise said, crews have recovered about one-eighth of the oil. The cleanup is expected to take about three weeks.

For updates on the cleanup, check the EPA's website at To report any oiled animals, call the Oiled Wildlife Care Network Center at (877) 823-6926.

(Article courtesy of

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