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Officials investigate California oil sheen near earlier leak

California Oil Spill
Amy Taxin / Associated Press
/
AP
Surfers leave the water after lifeguards enforce the closure of the ocean in Huntington Beach, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. The water has been closed to surfing and swimming for a week since an offshore oil pipeline leaked crude into the water off the coast of Orange County.

An oil sheen spotted in the ocean near last month’s crude pipeline leak off Southern California was likely residual oil from the earlier spill, an official said Sunday.

The U.S. Coast Guard on Saturday dispatched aircraft and boats to investigate the oil sheen measuring about 70 feet (21 meters) by 30 feet (9 meters) off the coast of Orange County.

Coast Guard officials said Saturday night that the sheen had dissipated they would continue monitoring the area.

The Los Angeles Times reported that divers preparing to do a routine inspection of the damaged pipeline noticed small oil droplets near the damaged section, which since the spill has been wrapped in a material called Syntho-Glass. The divers removed the wrap and replaced it with a new one, said Eric Laughlin, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The pipeline has been shut down and no oil has flowed through it since the Oct. 2 spill, Lughlin said Sunday. The oil spotted Saturday was “likely residual,” he said.

The sheen was located in the same area where the underwater pipeline owned by Houston-based Amplify Energy leaked up to about 25,000 gallons (94,635 liters) of crude on Oct. 2. Oil washed ashore, tarring the feathers of dozens of birds and leading to rescues of marine mammals.

The impact of the spill was less than initially feared, but it affected local wetlands and wildlife and shut the shoreline in surf-loving Huntington Beach for a week.