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City Beaches Fully Open After Tests Affirm Water Quality

All City beaches are fully open as of 2 p.m. Monday, October 11, after water quality testing showed the ocean water is safe for swimmers and surfers to return.

The City issued a beach advisory on October 2, prohibiting public access to the water on ocean-facing beaches, after a large oil spill was identified off the coast of Newport Beach and Huntington Beach.

Water quality testing of samples collected on Friday, October 8 did not show unhealthful levels of petroleum-related toxins.

Water quality samples were analyzed by Eurofins Calscience, an independent water-testing lab hired by the City. Ten locations were sampled that had been impacted by the spill, from the Santa Ana river jetty to little Corona del Mar beach. Among other toxins, the samples were tested for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) and total petroleum hydrocarbons, which are indicators for the levels of oil present in the ocean water.

The testing did not reveal any detectable levels of PAH or petroleum hydrocarbons at eight of the 10 locations. Some remaining oil was detected at low, non-toxic levels at two locations, the Wedge and Balboa Pier.

The City will continue monitoring the water quality of its ocean beaches on a regular basis for the next several weeks.

The water quality report is available on the City’s web site at this link.

While most of the onshore oil has been removed, the public can expect to see oiled materials and tar balls continue to wash up on the beach. Residents and visitors are advised to use care as they traverse the tidal zone to avoid stepping in or spreading tar patches that may wash ashore.

Please do not handle or collect any oiled materials. If you do see oil or tar balls on the beach, contact the beach clean-up teams at tarballreports@wildlife.ca.gov.

The public will continue to see cleanup crews on the beaches to survey and clean any additional oil and tar that washes up on the shoreline.

Community members who would like to volunteer in the cleanup effort are encouraged to register at https://calspillwatch.wildlife.ca.gov/Volunteer.

Members of the public are advised to avoid contact with oiled wildlife. If anyone encounters oiled wildlife, please call 1-877-823-6926. 

For more information and updates, please visit Newport Beach’s web site at www.newportbeachca.gov/oilspill and the official incident response website at www.socalspillresponse.com.

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