News Details


City Closely Monitoring Impacts of Oil Spill

October 4, 2021

The City of Oceanside Emergency Operations Center is closely monitoring the impacts of the oil spill that occurred Saturday, October 2, 2021, off the coast of Huntington Beach roughly 50 miles to the north.

The Coast Guard and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are the commanding agencies.  Overflights and shore-based responders continue to monitor the ocean and shore for oil impact.  Shoreline Cleaning Assessment Teams (SCAT) have been deployed along the coastline preceding the shifting oil spill. 

Oceanside Harbor and Emergency Operations Center staff are prepared to close the Harbor inlet with a floating boom if needed.

Update as of 11/23/21:

  • There have been no visible tarballs on Oceanside beaches since the last report. All of Oceanside's beaches have been "signed off on" by the US Coast Guard and California Department of Wildlife.  There was a new report of a sheen over the weekend in the vicinity of the original oil spill. Divers investigated and found small droplets of oil on the protective wrap.  The wrap was replaced and no sheen is visible at this time.

Update as of 11/08/21 at 1:30 p.m.:

  • Two shoreline assessment teams evaluated Oceanside's beaches this weekend.   Additional tarballs were found from Seagaze to Harbor Beach.  Cleanup teams have been assigned to clean the areas again. Once cleaned, they will monitor.
  • Very few tarballs were located from Wisconsin, south to the City limit. This section of the beach will enter the "monitoring phase."  If tarballs are located, Fish & Wildlife Service will be notified for cleanup.

Update as of 10/29 at 4:00 p.m.

  • Oceanside Lifeguards met with the US Coast Guard today.  The US Coast Guard will continue to visit Oceanside beaches, although tar balls found have significantly decreased over the past week.
  • Oceanside Lifeguards will continue to monitor beaches and report tarballs and any other impacts from this incident.

Update as of 10/27/21 at 5:00 p.m.

  • No tarballs to report.  Another US Coast Guard crew was inspecting Oceanside beaches today.  

Updates as of 10/24/21 at 9:00 am:

  • Results of the air / water / sediment sampling were received; no anomalies were found at the Oceanside locations.
  • Additional environmental crews swept the beaches from the San Luis Rey River to the Carlsbad border late last week.

Updates as of 10/18/21 at 5:30 p.m.

  • Although the number of tarballs found continues to decline, earlier this afternoon, it was reported to Unified Command that some tarballs were found north of the Pier and south of San Luis Rey Rivermouth. Crews will be back for cleanup.
  • Coast Guard crews were at Harbor Beach to evaluate conditions today.
  • Buena Vista Lagoon was evaluated yesterday via drone. Results of aerial assessment are being finalized.
  • All protective booms in San Diego County have been removed.
  • Most of the cleanup efforts in the County are now focused from Encinitas south to La Jolla
  • Onshore seafood sampling has been conducted and offshore testing is expected to start Oct. 24. Data collected will be used to evaluate the safety of fisheries in the area.
  • San Diego County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is moving to monitoring status.
  • Long-term monitoring plans are being formalized and daily operational area calls are moving to every other day.

Updates as of 10/15/21 at 2:00 p.m.:

  • Four Cleanup Task Force groups were assigned to Oceanside today.  They cleaned the rip rap in front of North Coast Village and transitioned to Harbor Beach.  No tarballs were observed today south of the Pier.
  • Buena Vista Lagoon is scheduled to be evaluated and surveyed this weekend.  There is no evidence at this time of tar/oil entering the lagoon.

Updates as of Oct. 14 at 4:00 p.m.

  • There have been no sightings of oil sheen on the surface in San Diego County during overflights over the past three days.
  • Four cleanup task forces were assigned to Oceanside beaches and worked in the area for the past two days.  They will return to continue to work on Harbor Beach.
  • The Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Team will revisit Oceanside beaches early next week to reassess for any issues.
  • Oceanside Lifeguards and Public Works personnel will continue to monitor the beaches and any reports of tarballs will be submitted to the Unified Command.

Updates as of Oct. 13 at 5:00 p.m.:

  • Environmental crews have been clearing Oceanside's shoreline of tarballs found at the high tide line.  Please do not touch a tarball if you see one; it is a hazardous material. 

Updates as of Oct. 12 at 9:00 a.m.:

  • Multiple tarballs were found on the beach at the high tide line. This was anticipated due to the high winds yesterday. The CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife was notified last night.  SCAT teams will assess and clean up.  
  • Yesterday, Oceanside personnel requested environmental sampling be done in Oceanside.  It was advised that the following beach areas will be sampled:  Harbor Beach, Tyson Street, Forester Street, Buccaneer Beach, Cassidy Street, and St. Malo.

Updates as of Oct. 11 at 8:00 a.m.:

  • Four sampling teams will be conducting beach sand and sediment sampling in Orange and San Diego Counties
  • All harbors in Orange County have reopened
  • All San Diego County beaches remain open at this time
  • To date, 5,544 gallons of crude oil have been recovered
  • 11,400 feet of containment boom have been deployed
  • No oiled wildlife have been located in San Diego County
  • Please report any tarballs you may see on beaches by emailing and include the date, time, specific location, estimated size/quantity, and your contact information for follow-up.

Updates as of Oct. 8 at 10:00 a.m.:

  • Overhead flights today showed no visible sheen detected from Oceanside to La Jolla.
  • The Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Teams (SCAT) that examined Oceanside beaches will return today.
  • Out of an abundance of caution, booms were placed at the mouth of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon to protect the desalination plant
  • We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates  

Updates as of Oct. 7 at 4:30 p.m.:

  • 5,544 gallons of crude oil were recovered in the water off of Orange County
  • An estimated 15.67 miles of light oiling was reported along shorelines to the north
  • Six miles of shoreline to the north have been cleaned and crews continue cleanup efforts
  • Five aircraft are assigned with 16 flights per day and 35 vessels
  • 12,860 feet of containment boom have been deployed protecting eight sensitive sites from Orange County to San Diego County
  • 24 oiled wildlife have been recovered in Orange County
  • 511 response personnel are working on response; more expected this week
  • Boaters with damage claims are asked to call 1-866-985-8366. Contaminated vessels will be professionally cleaned by experts
  • Oceanside Lifeguards found several tarballs on 10/06/21 and reported to the commanding agencies
  • SCAT teams (Shoreline Cleaning Assessment Teams) arrived on 10/07/21 and are examining Oceanside beaches for traces
  • County beaches in Dana Point were cleared to reopen on 10/07/21
  • Multiple regulatory agencies are conducting investigations

Tarballs are a remnant of oil spills and may be spotted. Do not touch or pick them up.  San Diego County Public Health Advisory.  Tarballs will be removed by trained teams. Tarball fact sheet

To report any sign of oil, call 1-800-852-7550.

To volunteer to help, visit or call 1-800-228-4544

To report oiled wildlife, do not handle, please call 1-877-823-6926

To view fisheries closure areas, visit

To view images, visit

For questions, email

For daily updates, visit