By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager
As the oil spill cleanup effort continues, I am cautiously optimistic that the worst may be behind us.
Through the week, cleanup crews have been working hard to remove oil and tar deposits from the shoreline, and more than 14,000 feet of containment booms are being utilized to collect floating oil from the water.
More than 900 workers are now conducting response operations on the shoreline, with crews deployed to the Peninsula and Corona del Mar, under a unified command led by the U.S. Coast Guard and state Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. As of Friday, 5,544 gallons of crude oil have been recovered by vessels, and about 172,000 pounds of oily debris has been removed from Orange County beaches.
Newport Beach lifeguards are reporting a steady decrease in the amount of oil and tar washing ashore. As of Friday morning, only light oil deposits were observed. The oil spill is moving south and is starting to break apart. Oil has been observed 11 miles off of San Clemente and tar balls have been sighted in Oceanside, Carlsbad and Encinitas.
Meanwhile, the City’s beach advisory remains in place. For health and safety reasons, residents and visitors must avoid contact with ocean water and oiled areas of the beach. City recreation classes that utilize ocean-facing beaches have been temporarily cancelled (recreation classes in the harbor are continuing as scheduled). All fishing and collecting of shellfish, both recreational and commercial), is prohibited from Huntington Beach south to Dana Point.
We have heard from many residents who are concerned about air and water quality. The South Coast Air Quality Management District, in coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Orange County Health Care Agency, and a contracted environmental consulting firm are conducting community air monitoring through mobile air surveys and air sampling at 12 sites located along the Orange County coastline, including four sites in Newport Beach.
As of Thursday, air samples from areas potentially impacted by the oil spill are similar to air quality on a typical day and below California health standards for the pollutants measured. Air monitoring efforts will continue.
While the numbers of injured wildlife have been lower than expected, we may see more in the coming days. Please avoid contact with oil and oiled wildlife, and if you see oiled wildlife, please call (877) 823-6926.
The spill was caused by a rupture in a pipeline carrying crude oil from the offshore platform Elly, possibly damaged by a ship’s anchor. The exact cause of the spill remains under investigation.
For more information and updates, please visit the City’s web site at www.newportbeachca.gov/oilspill.
The official incident web site is https://socalspillresponse.com/.
Volunteers who meet certain minimum criteria can now register with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife at https://calspillwatch.wildlife.ca.gov/volunteer.
COVID-19 Cases in Newport Beach
As of October 7, the total cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Newport Beach was 4,980 an increase of 44 cases from September 30. The total number of cases in Orange County as of October 7 was 299,334, an increase of 1,669 cases from September 30. The number of recovered COVID- 19 patients countywide as of October 7 was 286,423. These figures are provided to Orange County by the California Department of Public Health.
The County’s daily, weekday update of COVID-19 case information is available at this link: https://ochca.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/cc4859c8c522496b9f21c451de2fedae.
Those seeking vaccination options can visit the HCA page at this link: https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-vaccine-distribution-channels.
- 18 people who had been experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach are now sheltered in the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter. City Net completed three intakes this week.
- City Net, the City’s contract homeless services agency, ordered Social Security award letters for several clients matched to Emergency Housing Vouchers. Emergency Housing Vouchers are funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and allow people to pay affordable rent based on their fixed incomes. Nine people experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach have been awarded vouchers so far and are working with a housing navigator to locate apartments. The voucher program is being administered by the Orange County Housing Authority.
- City Net completed a Vulnerability Index Intake Assessment for a man experiencing homelessness by the Newport Transportation Center. The assessment is used to screen clients to determine proper placement in the County’s Continuum of Care system. Some factors include age, health issues, and length of time being unsheltered. Case managers will follow up with the client to provide housing assessments and prepare documentation for housing.
- City Net facilitated appointments for a client with Telecare and Collete’s Children’s Home. Collete’s Children’s Home provides a stable, safe transitional home for single women and mothers.
- City Net ordered identifying documents (including a photo ID, birth certificate, and Social Security card) for a person enrolled in their services.
- City Net completed a housing assessment with a person enrolled in their services. The person was matched to an Emergency Housing Voucher last week.
To donate to those experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach, please visit our Good Giving Program web page at https://newportbeachca.gov/trending/community-issues/homelessness/how-you-can-help.