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By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Tar balls on a local beach, via San Diego County Office of Emergency Services

October 12, 2021 (San Diego) – If you’ve suffered harm due to the oil spill off the Huntington Beach coast, such as damage to a boat, you can file a claim by calling 1-866-985-8366. 

Below are details on cleanup of vessels, skin contact with tar balls, and reporting oiled wildlife locally, since tar balls have been found on several San Diego County beaches.


San Diego’s County Office of Emergency Services advises: “Vessel cleaning is scheduled upon filing your claim and will not be available without an appointment. If your vessel has been impacted by the oil spill, we want to remind people not to clean their oiled vessels with any type of soaps or dispersants or show up to a cleaning station without an appointment. Using these products can make the situation worse as they are not effective on this type of oil.”

Skin contact

Oil contains hazardous chemicals, and for safety reasons, we ask the pubic not to handle any tar balls or oil. If skin contact occurs, wash the area with soap and water or baby oil. Avoid using solvents, gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, or similar products on the skin. These products, when applied to skin, present a greater health hazard than the tar ball itself. More information about tar balls is available at

Reporting oiled wildlife

While no oiled wildlife has been found in San Diego County, a team worked Sunday to check the area more thoroughly. To report oiled wildlife, call 1-877-823-6926.

Reporting tar balls

Beachgoers in San Diego and Orange County are advised to be aware that forecasted strong winds this evening and associated wave action may increase the number of tar balls washing ashore. If you see tar balls, please contact clean up teams at

Updates on beach closures, harbors, and fisheries

Specific beach openings and closing statuses are managed by local governments. So far, all San Diego County beaches remain open.

Visit for the latest information regarding the beach status in San Diego County.

Visit for the latest information regarding beach status in Orange County.

For information about harbor status please visit:

For updates on the fisheries closures, visit

Local emergency responses

The Unified Command is continuing its response Monday to the coastal oil spill in Orange and San Diego Counties.

As beach assessment and cleanup operations continue in Orange and San Diego Counties, the public can expect to see cleanup crews equipped in protective gear, monitoring, inspecting and cleaning the beaches.

Close coordination within the Unified Command supported the rapid deployment of available resources to protect sensitive areas.

Containment booms were placed in front of the mouths of the Batiquitos, San Elijo and San Dieguito lagoons similar to those at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon and Santa Margarita River.

Shoreline assessment teams are working down the San Diego County coast to assess each beach for oil impacts. The teams completed assessments of beaches from San Mateo Point to San Elijo Beach on Sunday. Additional teams were continuing to conduct water and soil sampling along San Diego area beaches on Monday.