HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) – The Unified Command provided an update on the Huntington Beach Oil Spill efforts Friday. While reports from trained officials and personnel claim that significant strides are being made, some concerning aftereffects have been found.
The Pacific Marine Mammal Center was called to respond to reports of a stranded dolphin on Cabrillo Beach Thursday morning. The dolphin, a juvenile northern right whale dolphin, was humanely euthanized after what officials called a difficult decision. A necropsy completed shortly after found no oil inside nor outside of the dolphin, but continued investigation will look into the cause of death.READ MORE: Over 80 Oil-Covered Birds, Fish Recovered From Huntington Beach Oil Spill; More Than Half Dead
Dozens of birds have died in the aftermath of the oil spill, while many have also been rescued and cleaned before returned to their habitat. Unified Command reports that of the 32 they’ve captured in the Costa Mesa area, 24 have been cleaned while eight have gone through rehabilitation for their release.
Since October 5, no free-floating oil has been found on the surface of the water and all public beaches in Orange County, San Diego as well as most of Los Angeles are open. Tarball size has gradually reduced in size as days go by and they are more widely dispersed since the leak has been contained.
Unified Command has reduced the use of overflights in recent days, focusing more on the use of smaller and more environmentally friendly drones to assess more sensitive areas, to reduce further environmental impact.READ MORE: Protestors Call For Change Following Huntington Beach Oil Spill
While continued efforts are underway, Unified Command’s public health assessment unit will continue to run water and sediment sampling – reporting no abnormalities thus far. They will however conclude their testing of air have reached normal levels and are well within the common background levels.
While there are no beach closures in San Diego County or Orange County, over 100 members in each respective area continue to assist cleanup and assessment teams in restoring their beaches to their normal state; following an increase in tarball sightings.
Assessment of local fisheries is also underway in affected areas down the coast, to determine whether they can be reopened by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
The cause of the oil spill is still under investigation, however in recent days the magnitude of the spill was indicated to be much less than the initial reports suggested.MORE NEWS: Huntington Beach Oil Spill: Section Of Pipeline Found Damaged, Moved More Than 100 Feet Along Ocean Floor
To report sightings of oiled wildlife, you can call Unified Command at 1-877-823-6926 or file a claim at 1-866-985-8366.