(July 30, 2002, updated 4:05 p.m., initial post 1:30 p.m.) -- Yellow police tape blocked off a prime section of LB's beachfront today as a precautionary measure after roughly 880 gallons of diesel fuel somehow got into the Pacific Ocean early this morning from a boat fueling station in the area of the downtown Marina (actual cause uncertain, under investigation).
[update] This afternoon, City Hall's Health & Human Services Dept. issued a release saying the beach recreational water area is closed between 1st Pl. and 8th Pl. and the clean up "should take approximately one week to finalize, at which point the beach will be reopened." The City's Department of Health and Human Services/Water Program has posted the beach with closure signs, and will conduct daily testing of the impacted area."
The closure only affects the water; signs are posted indicating this. After police tape is removed (expected later today), sunbathers can be on the sand up to the water line in the designated area. [end update]
LBPD Marine Patrol officers and state Fish and Game officials were on scene as an environmental clean up firm, with truck and large booms, worked to contain the pollution and try to clean up the mess.
Details are sketchy as we post and officials on scene said the cause and circumstances are under investigation.
For several hours after the spill, there was a unfriendly stink in the area and harm to fish and wildlife was still being assessed. Bicycle riders and joggers in the area turned their noses up at the smell and the news. "What's going on?" one woman asked. "A diesel fuel spill. Everything's under control," said a Marine Patrol officer. "Terrible, terrible!" replied the visibly annoyed woman, shaking her head.
CA Fish and Wildlife Warden Victor Blalack told LBReport.com the full scope is being assessed by environmental scientists and although there were no noticeable effects on fish or wildlife at this point, "there will always be effects because of the pollution in the water."
By afternoon, the sun was helping evaporate the diesel fuel and the booms were being brought closer together, indicating clean up was progressing.
Still uncertain is exactly what happened, whether vandalism or something else. "There's some reason diesel fuel got in the ocean and we're going to find out why," Blalack said.
[LBReport.com thanks one of our many savvy readers for alerting us to this story. (Newstip line: (562) 429-8255, or firstname.lastname@example.org)]