Officials say two sheens of possible oil have been spotted off the Orange County coast, though the cause and whether they are connected to the oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach in October is unclear.
The first sheen was spotted at 4 p.m. Wednesday a half mile off the coast of Bolsa Chica, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Responders on the water “observed a petroleum odor” and collected samples “that exhibited characteristics of a petroleum product,” the Coast Guard said on Twitter.
#Update5 Last night, air assets deployed to area and detected anomalies off shore. On water responders observed a petroleum odor and collected samples that exhibited characteristics of a petroleum product which will be fingerprinted to help identify the source in the coming days.
— USCG Southern California (@USCGSoCal) December 16, 2021
Then this morning, an overflight by Unified Command, which consists of the Coast Guard, the state Office of Spill Prevention and Response and Orange County officials, identified a second sheen two miles south of the Huntington Beach Pier, according to a Twitter post from Orange County state Senator Dave Min.
#OCOilSpill Official Update: At 4:00pm yesterday, a commercial mariner spotted a sheen a half mile off the coast of Bolsa Chica State Beach. Unified Command mobilized resources & conducted an overflight this AM identifying a second sheen two miles south of the HB pier.
— Dave Min (@SenDaveMin) December 16, 2021
The source of the two sheens remains unknown, according to Min.
Though booms have been deployed at Talbert Marsh, Bolsa Chica and the Santa Ana River, there are no reports of oil or any shoreline impact at these locations at this time, according to the Coast Guard.
Lab testing is ongoing to see if either sheen is linked to the Oct. 1 spill, which saw about 25,000 gallons of oil leak from an offshore pipeline onto Orange County beaches, according to Min.
Editor’s note: This story originally listed an incorrect time when the first oil sheen was spotted, and has been corrected.
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