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Huntington Beach shore reopens to swimmers for the first time since oil spill

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 10/12/2021 Brandon Sapienza

The famous Huntington Beach reopened its shores to visitors after numerous water testing results cleared the way for swimmers to safely enjoy the water, a week after a burst pipeline spilled thousands of gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean.

State and local officials reopened the shoreline at 6 a.m. Monday morning.

Authorities handling the massive cleanup effort have so far recovered more than 5,000 gallons of crude oil in addition to 13.6 tar balls, CNN reported.

Workers in protective suits continue to clean the contaminated beach in Huntington Beach, Calif., Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. © Ringo H.W. Chiu Workers in protective suits continue to clean the contaminated beach in Huntington Beach, Calif., Monday, Oct. 11, 2021.

Workers in protective suits continue to clean the contaminated beach in Huntington Beach, Calif., Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. (Ringo H.W. Chiu/)

Despite the high amount of oil cleaned up, officials are worried that in a worst-case scenario, over 130,000 gallons of crude oil might have spilled into the Pacific Ocean.

“The health and safety of our residents and visitors is of the utmost importance. We understand the significance our beaches have on tourism, our economy, and our overall livelihood here in Huntington Beach,” said Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr in a statement.

Beachgoers have already been warned to remain cautious when going near or in the water, and have been asked to avoid oily areas.

As part of the continued cleanup effort, over five dozen birds have been recovered, 38 of which were found dead. Nine fish were also found dead, according to the Oiled Wildlife Network.

Meanwhile, California officials including Attorney General Rob Bonta are investigating the cause of the spill in partnership with federal, state and local authorities.

“The oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach is an environmental disaster with far-reaching consequences for our fish and wildlife, for our communities, and for our economy,” said Bonta. “My office is committed to devoting the people and the resources necessary to ensure this environmental disaster is fully investigated, and we will follow the facts wherever they lead us.”

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