Orange County beaches are slowly reopening after water quality tests following the offshore oil spill show undetectable amounts of toxins.
Newport Beach announced all city beaches were reopened Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. after over a week of closure as water quality results proved it safe for residents to return.
“The city will continue monitoring the water quality of its ocean beaches on a regular basis for the next several weeks,” Newport Beach wrote in a statement.
Newport Beach’s water was tested in ten locations for sampling on Oct. 8. Results showed eight of the locations tested revealed no toxins, with two areas showing non-toxic levels despite low amounts of oil being detected.
Earlier that day, Huntington Beach reopened its shorelines on the morning of Oct. 11 after the city received its water quality testing results.
“The health and safety of our residents and visitors is of the utmost importance,” Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said in a statement. “We understand the significance our beaches have on tourism, our economy, and our overall livelihood here in Huntington Beach. It is important that our decision to reopen our shoreline and water be based on data and that we continue to monitor the water quality going forward.”
As of Oct. 12, Laguna Beach’s shoreline and waterfronts proceeded to remain closed, but the sand has been opened for residents and visitors since Oct. 8.
According to the Southern California Spill Response, as of the morning of Oct. 10, crews have recovered over 5,500 gallons of crude oil by vessel, over 13.6 barrels (570 gallons) of tar balls, and 250,000 pounds of oily debris.
Despite reopening fully and partially, the cities warn oil residue may still be present and urge visitors to be cautious while avoiding contact with oil tar balls.
If traces of oil are found, visitors are encouraged to call the Marine Safety non-emergency line at (949) 497-0310.