TOPSHOT - This aerial picture taken on October 4, 2021 shows environmental response crews cleaning up oil that flowed near the Talbert marsh and Santa Ana River mouth, creating a sheen on the water after an oil spill in the Pacific Ocean in Huntington Beach, California. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Californian oil spill clean up effort under way – In pictures

A devastating oil spill is threatening wildlife in Orange County California, while volunteers battle to clean it up.

A huge oil spill off the coast of California has killed local wildlife and is threatening to damage nearby wetlands. A mammoth clean-up effort involving many volunteers is still ongoing.

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The leak was first reported on Saturday 2 October, and was thought to have been caused by a leak in a pipeline that connects an offshore oil rig to the Californian coast, approximately 65 km from Los Angeles.

The areas of Huntington Beach and the nearby Talbert Marsh wetlands are home to many bird species, including pelicans, great blue herons and the endangered Californian least tern.

It has been estimated that at least 480,000 litres of crude oil has leaked out of a break in the pipeline, about 8 kilometres from the shore. Clean-up efforts have been intense, and are expected to continue for weeks, and 32 km of beaches in the area have been closed to swimmers and surfers.

This is the largest spill in the area since 1990, when an oil tanker ran aground and released 1.6 million litres of crude oil that killed many fish and birds.

3 October 2021

Huntington Beach, CA - October 03: An oil slick lines the beach as Huntington Beach lifeguards keep people out of the water while cleanup boat crews put booms around the oil at the scene of a major oil spill washing ashore in Huntington Beach Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. Crews raced Sunday morning to contain the damage from a major oil spill off the Orange County coast that left crude spoiling beaches, killing fish and birds and threatening local wetlands. The oil slick is believed to have originated from a pipeline leak, pouring 126,000 gallons into the coastal waters and seeping into the Talbert Marsh as lifeguards deployed floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further incursion, said Jennifer Carey, Huntington Beach city spokesperson. At sunrise Sunday, oil was on the sand in some parts of Huntington Beach with slicks visible in the ocean as well. We classify this as a major spill, and it is a high priority to us to mitigate any environmental concerns, Carey said. Its all hands on deck. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Huntington Beach lifeguards keep people out of the water while cleanup boat crews put booms around the oil slick. Crews raced to contain the damage from the spill off the Orange County coast that left crude spoiling beaches, killing fish and birds and threatening local wetlands. Photo by Allen J Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 03: Oil is washed up on Huntington State Beach after a 126,000-gallon oil spill from an offshore oil platform on October 3, 2021 in Huntington Beach, California. The spill forced the closure of the popular Great Pacific Airshow with authorities urging people to avoid beaches in the vicinity. (Photo by Nick Ut/Getty Images)
Oil is washed up on the sand of Huntington State Beach, forcing the closure of the Great Pacific Airshow, with authorities urging people to avoid beaches in the vicinity. Photo by Nick Ut/Getty Images
A close-up image of oil flowing through the Talbert Channel, gathering on an absorption boom that helps stop the flow into the ecologically sensitive Talbert Marsh. Photo by Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
A close-up image of oil flowing through the Talbert Channel, gathering on an absorption boom that helps stop the flow into the ecologically sensitive Talbert Marsh. Photo by Allen J Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Huntington Beach, CA - October 03: Oil globules line the beach from the incoming tide while a major oil spill washes ashore on the border of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach at the Santa Ana River Jetties Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021 in Huntington Beach, CA. Crews raced Sunday morning to contain the damage from a major oil spill off the Orange County coast that left crude spoiling beaches, killing fish and birds and threatening local wetlands. The oil slick is believed to have originated from a pipeline leak, pouring 126,000 gallons into the coastal waters and seeping into the Talbert Marsh as lifeguards deployed floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further incursion, said Jennifer Carey, Huntington Beach city spokesperson. At sunrise Sunday, oil was on the sand in some parts of Huntington Beach with slicks visible in the ocean as well. We classify this as a major spill, and it is a high priority to us to mitigate any environmental concerns, Carey said. Its all hands on deck. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Oil globules line the beach from the incoming tide while a major oil spill washes ashore on the border of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach at the Santa Ana River Jetties. Photo by Allen J Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Oil floating in the water, right, from an oil spill from an offshore rig is contained behind booms near the inlet at Talbert Marsh Wetlands in Huntington Beach on Sunday, October 3, 2021. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
Oil floating in the water, right, from an oil spill from an offshore rig is contained behind booms near the inlet at Talbert Marsh Wetlands in Huntington Beach. Photo by Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register/Getty Images
Huntington Beach, CA - October 03: An oil slick lines the beach as cleanup boat crews put booms around the oil at the scene of a major oil spill washing ashore in Huntington Beach Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. Crews raced Sunday morning to contain the damage from a major oil spill off the Orange County coast that left crude spoiling beaches, killing fish and birds and threatening local wetlands. The oil slick is believed to have originated from a pipeline leak, pouring 126,000 gallons into the coastal waters and seeping into the Talbert Marsh as lifeguards deployed floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further incursion, said Jennifer Carey, Huntington Beach city spokesperson. At sunrise Sunday, oil was on the sand in some parts of Huntington Beach with slicks visible in the ocean as well. We classify this as a major spill, and it is a high priority to us to mitigate any environmental concerns, Carey said. Its all hands on deck. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
A boat tows a boom that will act as a barrier in an attempt to contain the oil spill on Huntington Beach. Photo by Allen J Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 03: A warning sign is posted near oil washed up on Huntington State Beach after a 126,000-gallon oil spill from an offshore oil platform on October 3, 2021 in Huntington Beach, California. The spill forced the closure of the popular Great Pacific Airshow with authorities urging people to avoid beaches in the vicinity. (Photo by Sefa Degirmenci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A warning sign is posted near oil washed up on Huntington State Beach warning of the large oil spill from an offshore oil platform on 3 October 2021 in Huntington Beach, California, USA. Photo by Sefa Degirmenci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

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4 October 2021

TOPSHOT - This aerial picture taken on October 4, 2021 shows environmental response crews cleaning up oil that flowed near the Talbert marsh and Santa Ana River mouth, creating a sheen on the water after an oil spill in the Pacific Ocean in Huntington Beach, California. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
This aerial picture shows environmental response crews cleaning up oil that flowed near the Talbert marsh and Santa Ana River mouth, creating a sheen on the water. Talbert Marsh is a 10 hectare (25 acre) wetland reserve that serves as a rest stop for migrating birds as they head south for the winter. Photo by Patrick T Fallon/AFP/Getty Images
Huntington Beach, CA - October 04: Cleanup crews spread out across the beach as they begin cleaning up oil in the sand from a major oil spill on Huntington State Beach in Huntington Beach Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. Cleanup crews began cleaning up the the damage from a major oil spill off the Orange County coast that left crude spoiling beaches, killing fish and birds and threatening local wetlands. The oil slick is believed to have originated from a pipeline leak, pouring 126,000 gallons into the coastal waters and seeping into the Talbert Marsh as lifeguards deployed floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further incursion, said Jennifer Carey, Huntington Beach city spokesperson. At sunrise Sunday, oil was on the sand in some parts of Huntington Beach with slicks visible in the ocean as well. We classify this as a major spill, and it is a high priority to us to mitigate any environmental concerns, Carey said. Its all hands on deck. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Cleanup crews spread out across the beach as they begin cleaning up oil in the sand on Huntington State Beach. Photo by Allen J Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
A bird eats a dead fish on the beach after an oil spill in the Pacific Ocean in Huntington Beach, California on October 4, 2021. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
A bird eats a dead fish on the beach. Photo by Patrick T Fallon/AFP/Getty Images
Huntington Beach, CA - October 04: An aerial view of the patterns of water pollution after a major oil spill polluted the Santa Ana River-mouth on the border of Huntington Beach ad Newport Beach Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. Cleanup crews began cleaning up the damage from a major oil spill off the Orange County coast that left crude spoiling beaches, killing fish and birds and threatening local wetlands. The oil slick is believed to have originated from a pipeline leak, pouring 126,000 gallons into the coastal waters and seeping into the Talbert Marsh as lifeguards deployed floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further incursion, said Jennifer Carey, Huntington Beach city spokesperson. At sunrise Sunday, oil was on the sand in some parts of Huntington Beach with slicks visible in the ocean as well. We classify this as a major spill, and it is a high priority to us to mitigate any environmental concerns, Carey said. Its all hands on deck. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
An aerial view of the patterns of water pollution after the oil spill polluted the Santa Ana River-mouth on the border of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. Photo by Allen J Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Huntington Beach, CA - October 04: A worker with Patriot Environmental Services mops up oil at Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach, CA on Monday, October 4, 2021. Officials continued working to contain at least 126,000 gallons of oil believed to have leaked from a broken pipeline connected to an off-shore oil rig. The oil has fouled the water and coastline mostly in Huntington and Newport beaches. (Photo by Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
A worker with Patriot Environmental Services mops up oil at Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach. Photo by Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register/Getty Images
Huntington Beach, CA - October 04: An aerial view of booms placed to help stop the oil spill from spreading further into the Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. Cleanup crews began cleaning up the damage from a major oil spill off the Orange County coast that left crude spoiling beaches, killing fish and birds and threatening local wetlands. The oil slick is believed to have originated from a pipeline leak, pouring 126,000 gallons into the coastal waters and seeping into the Talbert Marsh as lifeguards deployed floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further incursion, said Jennifer Carey, Huntington Beach city spokesperson. At sunrise Sunday, oil was on the sand in some parts of Huntington Beach with slicks visible in the ocean as well. We classify this as a major spill, and it is a high priority to us to mitigate any environmental concerns, Carey said. Its all hands on deck. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
An aerial view of booms placed to help stop the oil spill from spreading further into the Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach. Photo by Allen J Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ron Lyon/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock (12524355f) October 4th 2021, Huntington Beach, California, USA: Environmental volunteers continue cleanup oil and residue that has washed ashore at Bolsa Chica State Beach and the Bolsa Chica Wetlands. The pipeline oil spill has resulted in beach closures along a twenty mile stretch of Orange County.
Bolsa Chica State Beach, north of Huntington Beach, is closed as a beach-cleaning volunteer helps to clean oil from the sand. Photo by Ron Lyon/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock
Huntington Beach, CA - October 04: Huntington Beach, CA - October 04: Dr. Duane Tom, of Oiled Wildlife Care Network, UC Davis, inspects an oiled Sanderling shorebird at the Wildlife & Wetlands Center in Huntington Beach Monday, Oct. 4, 2021 in Huntington Beach, CA Cleanup crews began cleaning up the damage from a major oil spill off the Orange County coast that left crude spoiling beaches, killing fish and birds and threatening local wetlands. The oil slick is believed to have originated from a pipeline leak, pouring 126,000 gallons into the coastal waters and seeping into the Talbert Marsh as lifeguards deployed floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further incursion, said Jennifer Carey, Huntington Beach city spokesperson. At sunrise Sunday, oil was on the sand in some parts of Huntington Beach with slicks visible in the ocean as well. We classify this as a major spill, and it is a high priority to us to mitigate any environmental concerns, Carey said. Its all hands on deck. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Dr Duane Tom, of Oiled Wildlife Care Network, UC Davis, inspects an oiled Sanderling shorebird at the Wildlife & Wetlands Center in Huntington Beach. Photo by Allen J Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ron Lyon/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock (12524405b) Environmental volunteers continue cleanup oil and residue that has washed ashore at Bolsa Chica State Beach. The pipeline oil spill has resulted in beach closures along a twenty mile stretch of Orange County. Oil Spill Off California Coast Threatens Wildlife, Huntington Beach, USA - 04 Oct 2021
Environmental volunteers continue cleanup oil and residue that has washed ashore at Bolsa Chica State Beach. The pipeline oil spill has resulted in beach closures along a twenty mile stretch of Orange County. Photo by Ron Lyon/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock
Huntington Beach, CA - October 04: An aerial view of shorebirds feeding amidst the oil spill on Huntington State Beach in Huntington Beach Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. Cleanup crews began cleaning up the the damage from a major oil spill off the Orange County coast that left crude spoiling beaches, killing fish and birds and threatening local wetlands. The oil slick is believed to have originated from a pipeline leak, pouring 126,000 gallons into the coastal waters and seeping into the Talbert Marsh as lifeguards deployed floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further incursion, said Jennifer Carey, Huntington Beach city spokesperson. At sunrise Sunday, oil was on the sand in some parts of Huntington Beach with slicks visible in the ocean as well. We classify this as a major spill, and it is a high priority to us to mitigate any environmental concerns, Carey said. Its all hands on deck. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
An aerial view of shorebirds feeding amidst the oil spill on Huntington State Beach. Photo by Allen J Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Cleanup crews spread out across the beach as they begin cleaning up oil in the sand from a major oil spill on Huntington State Beach in Huntington Beach Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. Cleanup crews began cleaning up the the damage from a major oil spill off the Orange County coast that left crude spoiling beaches, killing fish and birds and threatening local wetlands. The oil slick is believed to have originated from a pipeline leak, pouring 126,000 gallons into the coastal waters and seeping into the Talbert Marsh as lifeguards deployed floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further incursion, said Jennifer Carey, Huntington Beach city spokesperson. At sunrise Sunday, oil was on the sand in some parts of Huntington Beach with slicks visible in the ocean as well. We classify this as a major spill, and it is a high priority to us to mitigate any environmental concerns, Carey said. Its all hands on deck. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Cleanup crews spread out across the beach as they begin cleaning up oil in the sand. Photo by Allen J Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Huntington Beach, CA - September 04: Booms float in the Talbert Marsh as workers try to limit the spread of oil from a spill from an offshore oil rig in Huntington Beach, CA, on Monday, October 4, 2021. The U.S Coast Guard is leading the response to the spill, which comprised 126,000 gallons of oil and covered about 5.8 nautical miles between the Huntington Beach Pier and Newport Beach. The spill emanated from a facility operated by Beta Offshore about five miles off the coast, and was likely caused by a pipeline leak. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
Booms float in the Talbert Marsh as workers try to limit the spread of oil from the spill. Photo by Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register/Getty Images
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 04: A worker in a protective suit cleans oil in the Talbert Marsh wetlands after a 126,000-gallon oil spill from an offshore oil platform on October 4, 2021 in Huntington Beach, California. The spill forced the closure of the popular Great Pacific Airshow yesterday with authorities closing beaches in the vicinity. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
A worker in a protective suit cleans oil in the Talbert Marsh wetlands. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images
Cleanup workers in protective suits prepare to depart the closed Huntington State Beach as a storm approaches after a 126,000-gallon oil spill from an offshore oil platform on October 4, 2021 in Huntington Beach, California. The spill forced the closure of the popular Great Pacific Airshow yesterday with authorities closing beaches in the vicinity. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Cleanup workers in protective suits prepare to depart the closed Huntington State Beach as a storm approaches. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images
Work crews finish for the day after cleaning oil from Bolsa Chica State Beach Monday. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Work crews finish for the day after cleaning oil from Bolsa Chica State Beach, north of Huntington Beach, California, USA. Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

5 October 2021

Huntington Beach, CA - October 05: An aerial view of environmental oil spill cleanup crews picking up oil chucks off the beach from a major oil spill at Huntington Dog Beach with a view of Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve in the background in Huntington Beach Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. Environmental cleanup crews are spreading out across Huntington Beach and Newport Beach to cleanup the damage from a major oil spill off the Orange County coast that left crude spoiling beaches, killing fish and birds and threatening local wetlands. The oil slick is believed to have originated from a pipeline leak, pouring 126,000 gallons into the coastal waters and seeping into the Talbert Marsh as lifeguards deployed floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further incursion, said Jennifer Carey, Huntington Beach city spokesperson. At sunrise Sunday, oil was on the sand in some parts of Huntington Beach with slicks visible in the ocean as well. We classify this as a major spill, and it is a high priority to us to mitigate any environmental concerns, Carey said. Its all hands on deck. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
An aerial view of environmental oil spill cleanup crews picking up oil chucks off the beach. Photo by Allen J Schaben/Los Angeles Times /Getty Images
Huntington Beach, CA - October 05: An environmental oil spill cleanup crew member picks up chucks of oil on the beach from a major oil spill at Huntington Dog Beach in Huntington Beach Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. Environmental cleanup crews are spreading out across Huntington Beach and Newport Beach to cleanup the damage from a major oil spill off the Orange County coast that left crude spoiling beaches, killing fish and birds and threatening local wetlands. The oil slick is believed to have originated from a pipeline leak, pouring 126,000 gallons into the coastal waters and seeping into the Talbert Marsh as lifeguards deployed floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further incursion, said Jennifer Carey, Huntington Beach city spokesperson. At sunrise Sunday, oil was on the sand in some parts of Huntington Beach with slicks visible in the ocean as well. We classify this as a major spill, and it is a high priority to us to mitigate any environmental concerns, Carey said. Its all hands on deck. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
An environmental oil spill cleanup crew member uses a net to collect chucks of oil from Huntington Dog Beach. Photo by Allen J Schaben/Los Angeles Times /Getty Images
Huntington Beach, CA - October 05: Container ships and an oil derrick line the horizon as environmental oil spill cleanup crews search the beach, cleaning up oil chucks from a major oil spill in Huntington Beach Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. Environmental cleanup crews are spreading out across Huntington Beach and Newport Beach to cleanup the damage from a major oil spill off the Orange County coast that left crude spoiling beaches, killing fish and birds and threatening local wetlands. The oil slick is believed to have originated from a pipeline leak, pouring 126,000 gallons into the coastal waters and seeping into the Talbert Marsh as lifeguards deployed floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further incursion, said Jennifer Carey, Huntington Beach city spokesperson. At sunrise Sunday, oil was on the sand in some parts of Huntington Beach with slicks visible in the ocean as well. We classify this as a major spill, and it is a high priority to us to mitigate any environmental concerns, Carey said. Its all hands on deck. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Container ships and an oil derrick are visible on the horizon as environmental oil spill cleanup crews search the beach, cleaning up oil as they go. Photo by Allen J Schaben/Los Angeles Times /Getty Images
ORANGE COUNTY, CALIF. - OCT. 5, 2021. Members of a Coast Guard flight crew look out of the rear hatch of an airplane as it flies over the Orange County coastline in search of oil on the water on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2021. More than 130,000 gallons of oil leaked from a ruptured pipeline over the weekend, fouling local beaches and waters. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Members of a Coast Guard flight crew look out of the rear hatch of an airplane as it flies over the Orange County coastline in search of oil on the water. Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Newport Beach, CA - October 05: Workers clean oil from the sand south of the pier in Newport Beach, CA, on Tuesday, October 5, 2021. A leak in an oil pipeline caused a spill off the coast of Southern California sending about 126,000 gallons of oil into the ocean, some ending up on beaches in Orange County. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
Workers clean oil from the sand south of the pier in Newport Beach, California, as two beachgoers watch on. Photo by Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register/Getty Images