Sand areas in Laguna Beach reopen following O.C. oil spill closure

Local news

Orange County-operated beaches in Laguna Beach reopened Friday morning, days after being closed due to a major oil spill.

But visitors can only access the sand areas, and not the shoreline or water since cleanup efforts are still underway, county officials said.

The same goes for Huntington City Beach, Bolsa Chica State Beach, Huntington State Beach, Newport Beach and Crystal Cove State Beach, where visitors can enjoy the sand areas but the shoreline and water are off limits.

Beaches throughout the county closed after a pipeline spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean over the weekend, sending crews racing to save wildlife and to clean up the spill.

Beaches that reopened at 9 a.m. Friday include Aliso Beach, Laguna Royale Beach, Table Rock Beach, Thousand Steps Beach and West Street Beach.

On Thursday, Salt Creek Beach, Strands Beach and Baby Beach within Dana Point Harbor were back open.

Meanwhile, Salt Capistrano Beach and Poche Beach are still closed due to construction, officials said.

The parking lot at Aliso Beach also remains closed for cleanup efforts.

Newport Harbor was still closed, but O.C. Supervisor Katrina Foley said Friday morning that it may reopen soon.

“The public can expect to see Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Teams and work crews equipped in protective gear, monitoring, inspecting, and cleaning,” O.C. Emergency Operations officials said.

So far, more than 5,500 gallons of crude oil, 13 barrels of tar balls and about 172,500 pounds of oily debris have been recovered from the water and shorelines.

Community members were asked to avoid contact with any visible oil at the beaches. Those who spot oil-covered animals should report the sighting to the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at 1-877-823-6926.

After the oil spill, the O.C. Health Care Agency issued a health advisory telling those who come in contact with the contaminated materials to seek medical attention.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a fisheries closure for the region. Fishing and shellfish harvesting is prohibited in the area of the spill or where it is expected to spread.

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