Huntington Beach oil spill: Beaches closed as crews attempt to clean up shoreline

Some beaches along Orange County are closed after 144,000 gallons of oil spilled into the waters off Huntington Beach. 

Several beach closures are in effect as crews race to clean up the area. Closures could last for weeks or months according to Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr. 

Hard and soft closures are in place. A soft closure means the sand is open but the water is closed. A hard closure means both the sand and water are closed to the public. 

Below is a list of current beach closures. 

Beach Closures 

Newport Beach- Full Closure 

Corona Del Mar State Beach- Full Closure  

Laguna Beach (including county beaches)- Full Closure 

Huntington City Beach- Shoreline & Water Closed, Sand Open

Bolsa Chica State Beach- Shoreline & Water Closed, Sand Open

Huntington State Beach- Shoreline & Water Closed, Sand Open

Newport Beach- Shoreline & Water Closed, Sand Open

Crystal Cove State Beach- Shoreline & Water Closed, Sand Open

Aliso Beach- Shoreline & Water Closed, Sand Open

Laguna Royale Beach- Shoreline & Water Closed, Sand Open

Table Rock Beach- Shoreline & Water Closed, Sand Open

Thousand Steps Beach- Shoreline & Water Closed, Sand Open 

West Street Beach- Shoreline & Water Closed, Sand Open

South County State Beaches, Seal Beach, Huntington Harbor and Sunset Beach are open. 

On Friday Newport Harbor and Dana Point Harbor reopened, according to the Coast Guard.

The county on Thursday reopened the beaches under its jurisdiction in Dana Point, which include Salt Creek Beach, Strands Beach and Baby Beach within Dana Point Harbor. Capistrano Beach and Poche Beach remain closed because of construction. The parking lot at Aliso Beach remains closed.

Beachgoers are advised to avoid any visible oil on beaches and harbors in Dana Point and Newport Beach.

Boats will not be allowed to enter or exit Newport Beach Harbor at this time. Fishing is not allowed 

Signs and tape close off the beach where oil from a 126,000-gallon spill from an offshore rig washed up on Huntington State Beach near the mouth of the Santa Ana River in Huntington Beach on Sunday, October 3, 2021. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews

Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said the closures could last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

Due to the toxicity created by the spill, city leaders are urging everyone to stay away from the beach and avoid coming into contact with the oiled areas. No swimming, surfing or fishing will be allowed at this time.  

RELATED: Massive oil spill kills wildlife, closes shoreline at Huntington Beach

Cleanup efforts are underway by federal, state and regional response teams. Over 350 personnel are on the beach helping with cleanup efforts.  

According to Carr, crews have been going around the beach notifying people of the spill and directing them to leave the area. 

Several beach closure signs were placed around the area. 

Dr. Clayton Chau, Orange County's chief health officer, issued a health advisory Sunday for residents who may have encountered contaminated materials.

"The effects of oil spills on humans may be direct and indirect, depending on the type of contact with the oil spill,'' Chau said. "People may come in direct contact with oil and/or oil products while walking in a contaminated area (e.g., beach). An initial irritation will be obvious. Additionally, contaminants may be absorbed through the skin. Even when an oil sheen may not be visible, dispersed and dissolved oil contaminants may exist in the water."

The spill was reported around 9 a.m. Saturday. The spill emanated from a facility operated by Beta Offshore about five miles off the coast, and was likely caused by a pipeline leak. 

Carr described the situation as a "potential ecologic disaster,'' and said some of the oil had reached the shore and was impacting the Talbert Marshlands and the Santa Ana River Trail.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 03: Oil is washed up on Huntington State Beach after a 126,000-gallon oil spill from an offshore oil platform on October 3, 2021 in Huntington Beach, California. The spill forced the closure of the popular Great

Get your top stories delivered daily! Sign up for FOX 11’s Fast 5 newsletter. And, get breaking news alerts in the FOX 11 News app. Download for iOS or Android.

Several dead fish and birds have been reported. The California Department of Fish & Wildlife set up the Oiled Wildlife Care Network hotline, at 877-823-6826, for people to call if they see wildlife impacted from the oil. Members of the public were urged not to approach any animals themselves.

Tune in to FOX 11 Los Angeles for the latest Southern California news.