Two new likely oil sheens spotted off Orange County coast

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.

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.

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.

Explainer: What’s happening with the Orange County oil spill? And how will it affect Long Beach?

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Anthony Pignataro is an investigative reporter and editor for the Long Beach Post. He has close to three decades of experience in journalism leading numerous investigations and long-form journalism projects for the OC Weekly and other publications. He joined the Post in May 2021.
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