Cleanup of Southern California Coastal Oil Spill Updated

Orange County shoreline cleanup
Orange County shoreline cleanup members conduct cleanup operations on Talbert Marsh, California, on Oct. 7, 2021. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Janessa Warschkow.

Officials with the Unified Command in Costa Mesa, California, are continuing a massive cleanup of a coastal oil spill offshore in Orange and San Diego counties, while battling high winds and elevated swell heights on coastal waters.

In an update on the cleanup posted on Tuesday, Oct. 12, the United Command said it has seen an increase of tar balls along the coasts of both counties.

The Unified Command deployed five shoreline assessment teams yesterday to survey the Orange County beaches and three cleanup teams were sent to work on the coastline of San Diego County.

Boat decontamination sites have been established, with four boats decontaminated on Monday, Oct. 11 and two more were to be decontaminated yesterday.

The public is being asked not to handle any tar balls or oil because the oil contains hazardous materials.

If there is skin contact, the area should be washed with soap and water or baby oil. Avoid using solvents, gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel or similar products on the skin. Information on tar balls is available online at

The Unified Command said that while no oiled wildlife have been found in San Diego County they had a team there to check the area more thoroughly. The public is asked to report any oiled wildlife at 1-877-823-6926.

Meanwhile, shoreline assessment teams have been working the San Diego County coast to assess each beach for oil impacts. By Monday, Oct. 11, they had completed assessments of beaches from La Jolla to Coronado and other teams were continuing to do water and soil sampling along San Diego area beaches.

Contracted cleanup teams were also working throughout the Orange County coastline.