OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) – The U.S. Orange County Coast Guard said at 2 p.m. Wednesday that no oil had passed through San Diego County.
However, local officials said they will remain cautious and work to find solutions to ensure the oil does not harm our beaches.
“I hope it doesn’t really spread to all the beaches,” said Janet Acosta, a regular on the beach. “So it won’t affect the people here, the environment.”
Those who love the sun and the sand know that a few kilometers to the north are thousands of kilometers of spilled oil.
“If we’re going to surf, are we going to find tar?” Asked surfer Michael DeWitt. This is a question he has been asking himself since learning that oil was heading for the shores of San Diego County.
“Hopefully they’ll clean it up and next time shut down the system faster so that doesn’t happen,” DeWitt added.
“We know that an oil spill on our coast will cause massive destruction,” said Mayor of Encinitas, Catherine Blakespear.
Blakespear said on Wednesday she heard about oil spotted along our coast.
“It’s inevitable that some will hit this county and I’ve heard before of what is called a shard in Oceanside Harbor,” she said. “The question is how much and how quickly is this happening here?”
According to Surfrider Foundation CEO Chad Nelsen, it may still be a few days before you see her so far south.
“There is definitely a reason to watch and there is definitely a cause for concern,” Nelsen said.
The U.S. Coast Guard said in its update on Wednesday that so far no oil has crossed county borders, but they anticipate movement south and inland.
Local leaders are concerned if the oil forces closures, the impact it would have on those who rely on foot traffic on the beach, “Our clean beaches, our clean oceans, our clean food supply, all of this is really essential for us. And businesses and the business community depend on it. “
Blakespear said she believes spills like this are inevitable when we keep drilling for oil. She hoped this was the necessary example to take legislative action to prevent further drilling off our coasts.
Poseidon Water and the San Diego County Water Authority have issued the following joint statement:
“The oil spill did not affect the operations of the Claude ‘Bud’ Lewis Carlsbad desalination plant. The facility is the largest source of locally produced drinking water in San Diego County, generating nearly 80 billion gallons of drought-tolerant water since operations began in December 2015.
The water quality in Carlsbad’s Agua Hedionda Lagoon – the power source for the desalination plant – is continuously monitored for more than half a dozen seawater parameters, including concentration of oil in the water. In accordance with the requirements of the State of California in the facility’s drinking water license, the desalination plant will shut down if the hydrocarbon concentration in the source seawater reaches 300 parts per billion. While there has been no indication that oil from Orange County has reached Carlsbad, the facility’s operations team will continue to closely monitor the quality of the intake water.
In addition, Poseidon Water and the Water Authority are working with local, state and federal agencies to assess potential preventive actions should conditions change, including the installation of a floating dam at the mouth of the lagoon. This would protect the lagoon for marine life and ensure the desalination plant can stay online, minimizing the San Diego area’s demands on other water resources.
The Oceanside Fire Department has its Emergency Operations Unit ready for use. Oceanside Fire Dept division chief Peter Lawrence said they are protecting the waterways inside the port to make sure the oil stays out. They also created more slip spaces for boats that could no longer park in closed harbors.
“We’re lucky that this time of year we have a southerly swell,” Lawrence said. “So that should hopefully keep him from getting very far into San Diego County.”
Officials said the southward movement of oil has slowed, but shared that they are ready nonetheless.
San Diego County Emergency Services Director Jeff Toney, along with San Diego County Supervisory Board Chairman Nathan Fletcher released this statement:
“Our county’s emergency services office is in constant communication with the United States Coast Guard, the California Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and the entire Unified Command as we monitor the oil spill off the coast of Canada. Orange County. The Unified Command maintains detailed contingency plans to deal with changing circumstances, and agencies work together to jointly implement these plans as needed.
Some of the oil appears to be heading south, but it has yet to enter San Diego County waters. Some protective measures have been put in place by response agencies, including a floating dam at the mouth of the Santa Margarita River at Camp Pendleton. At this time, there is no immediate threat to San Diego County, but our team is prepared for the possibility that the oil is heading to our watersheds, onto our beaches, and affecting fish, la wildlife and local ecosystems. “
Chief Lawrence added, “This is something that always comes to mind when you are an ocean community. “
Oceanside has warned beachgoers who may see the dangerous contamination to report it. Chief Lawrence said this allows authorities to secure and clean up the area.
“We would ensure that the quality of the cleanup efforts meet the city’s expectations,” he added.