LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Authorities have confirmed natural seepage as the “initial source” for the Goleta beach oil sheen, officials said Monday.
The U.S. Coast Guard collected samples from the spill after a roughly 3-mile sheen in the water about 1,000 yards off Goleta Beach was reported last Wednesday .
Although the slick was large, it wasn’t thick and gooey enough to be scooped up, Coast Guard Petty Officer Sondra-Kay Kneen said. It should simply break up and deplete on its own in the days ahead, she said.
After sampling tar ball on the beach and obtaining samples of the sheen offshore, investigators determined the sheen was a match to the material sampled from known naturally occurring tar balls, according to Coast Guard spokesperson Andrea Anderson.
Santa Barbara County Department of Public Health officials had previously said the slick provided no threat to public health and safety, although officials advised people to avoid contact with the oil.
That’s in contrast to the mass closure that occurred in the same area in May when a broken pipeline spilled 100,000 gallons of crude oil, fouling sands, seabirds and fishing areas for miles.
Last week’s oil slick was located about 12 miles away from the site where the onshore pipeline operated by Texas-based Plains All American ruptured at Refugio State Beach.
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