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San Diego County 'ready to respond' if oil spill heads south

Heavy machinery is used to build sand barriers to contain oil washed up in Huntington Beach, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021.
Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP
FR170512 AP
Heavy machinery is used to build sand barriers to contain oil washed up in Huntington Beach, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021.

San Diego County officials Wednesday said they were ready to respond should oil from the pipeline break in Orange County make its way into San Diego County waters and beaches.

Nathan Fletcher, chair of the County Board of Supervisors, and Jeff Toney, director of the county's Office of Emergency Services, said they are in constant communication with state and federal officials about the oil spill's possible impact on San Diego County.

"It appears some of the oil is making its way south, but it has yet to enter San Diego County waters," Toney and Fletcher said in a joint statement. "Some protective measures have been put in place by response agencies including a protective boom at the mouth of the Santa Margarita River on Camp Pendleton.


"Right now there is no immediate threat to San Diego County, but our team is prepared for the possibility of oil making its way towards our watersheds, onto our beaches, and affecting local fish, wildlife and ecosystems," the statement read.

Poseidon Water and the San Diego County Water Authority also issued a joint statement Wednesday in response to the oil spill, detailing how the Claude "Bud" Lewis Carlsbad desalination plant has not been impacted.

RELATED: San Diego fishing operators catch a break from Orange County oil spill

The facility is San Diego County's largest single source of locally produced drinking water, generating nearly 80 billion gallons of drought-proof water since operations started in December 2015.

"Water quality in Carlsbad's Agua Hedionda Lagoon — the desalination plant's intake source — is continually monitored for more than a half-dozen seawater parameters, including oil-in-water concentration," the statement reads.


State requirements require the plant to shut down if the hydrocarbon concentration of source seawater reaches 300 parts per billion.

"While there has been no indication of oil from Orange County reaching Carlsbad, the facility's operating team will continue to closely monitor intake water quality," the statement reads.

According to the joint statement, Poseidon Water and the water authority are working with local, state and federal agencies to assess potential preemptive actions in case conditions change, including installation of a floating boom at the mouth of the lagoon. The boom would be intended to protect the lagoon for marine life and ensure the desalination plant can stay online.

Those who live in a coastal community and see any evidence of oil were asked to contact 1 (877) 823-6926.

Updates to the situation, including actions taken to mitigate the spill, can be found at