The U.S. Coast Guard, California state officials and local agencies responded to reports of an oil slick “approximately 13 square miles in size” located about three miles from the Newport Beach coast Saturday , officials said.
The slick, which is thought to come from a pipeline leak, has put 126,000 gallons of oil into coastal waters, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Coast Guard announced the slick just after 12:15 p.m. Saturday, and for much of the afternoon and early evening, predictions were that the slick was unlikely to come ashore, as it would probably “dissipate through wind, sun and wave action,” the city of Newport Beach tweeted.
By about 9 p.m., however, it became clear that the oil was headed for shore.
“The large oil spill reported off the coast earlier today is now expected to come ashore in Newport Beach at some point tonight, at a location between Balboa Pier and CdM Main Beach,” the city tweeted.
The city also explained that it has joined with multiple agencies under Coast Guard command in an attempt to limit the spill’s damage.
“The City is closely monitoring. City fire, public works, police and harbor teams are ready to respond,” the city said on Twitter.
Oil has already come ashore in nearby Huntington Beach, including in Talbert Marsh, which is home to about 90 species of birds, according to the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy.
“We’re working with the Coast Guard, the state, the county and all of our local conservancies to do everything possible to assess the situation,” Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tempore Kim Carr said.
On the state side, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife tweeted that its spill prevention and response team responded to the “reports of oil in federal waters several miles offshore of Huntington Beach.” The agency said a crew was on the water surveilling the area and investigating the source of the oil, as well as the type of oil.
The agency added that “multiple reports of sheen” were made to the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and that “cleanup contractors [were] being mobilized” as of Saturday afternoon.