After an oil spillage, California's Surf City USA beach is reopened

Swimmers and surfers returned to the waves at a beach in Southern California Monday after a pipeline leaking crude oil into the sea. The beach was closed for more than a week.

After an oil spillage, California's Surf City USA beach is reopened

Huntington Beach, also known as "Surf City USA", reopened in a much quicker time than expected.

After water quality tests showed no oil-related toxins in the ocean, Huntington Beach officials and the city decided to reopen Huntington Beach's shoreline. Andrew Boyack (54-year-old commercial photographer) was happy with the decision. He surfs the waves in Huntington Beach three to four times per week, but has not been seen since the spillage.

Boyack stated, "There are lots of guys out, so I figure it is probably alright," while washing off in an outdoor beach shower.

It's just exercise. It's almost like a jogger. Every morning, we surf."

The spillage has left this surf-loving coastal city of 200,000 people in shock. The spillage has caused the ocean to be closed and canceled a popular television show. Fisheries have been shut down, local shops have been damaged. Although the environmental impact on sensitive habitats such as wetland ecosystems was less than initially thought, advocates are concerned about the long-term effects of the spillage.

Coast Guard officials stated that a pipeline owned and operated by Houston-based Amplify Energy, which transports crude oil from offshore platforms to the coast, leaked at most 25,000 gallons (95,000 Liters) and not more than 132,000 Gallons (500,000 Liters) into the ocean.

On Oct. 2, the spillage was confirmed. This came a day after local residents reported a petroleum-like odor. Officials are still investigating the matter and believe that the pipeline was damaged by an anchor from a ship several months or a year prior to it bursting.

A few people played volleyball on Monday. Residents walked, biked, and jogged along the beach path. Wetsuited surfers jogged along the shore, carrying their boards, hoping to return to the waves after having been escorted away by jet ski lifeguards.

But, the number of people in the ocean was far lower than usual, according to Sean Rinehart (49-year-old Huntington Beach chef and surf instructor). Rinehart said that he went out to surf, but decided to not go in because of the smell of dead fish at the pier. Rinehart said that he was in an oily mess when he last surfed Oct. 2. He said that his skin still itches even now.

He said, "I want to go in but no way."

Since the spillage, Huntington Beach shops that sell everything, from bikinis and stars-and-stripes boards to fishing gear and sand toys have suffered a severe economic setback. Although shop owners are optimistic that business will rebound quickly, they fear that it may take longer.

Other beaches are still closed. According to John Pope, a city spokesperson, the Newport Beach shoreline was closed Monday due to results of water quality testing.

Huntington Beach's sand was clean near the pier, and there wasn't any oily smell. The sand was still being combbed by workers in hazmat suits, who were tasked to remove oily blobs.

Matt Harty, a retired construction supervisor from Seal Beach, was 61 years old and said that he was happy to be back on the surf in Huntington Beach together with other early-morning surfers. He stated that he has seen oil spillages before, but this one did not seem to be as bad. In fact, the beach is beautiful.

Harty stated, "This beach is the cleanest in years. "I think they cleaned the beach up really well."

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