Oil sheen contained in Talbert Channel near site of last year’s major O.C. pipeline spill

Oil sheen on a beach near a dammed channel.
Low tide reveals oil on Huntington State Beach in October 2021 near Talbert Channel after about 25,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from a broken pipeline. On Friday morning, officials contained a small spill in the area, believed to be from an abandoned pipeline.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

State officials have contained an oil sheen that was spotted in Talbert Channel near Huntington Beach on Friday morning.

Crews working to replace steep plate walls had noticed light sheening, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response.

“Due to the brownish milky characteristics of the oil officials believe it may be from an abandoned pipeline,” state officials said.


The sheen was contained and crews were continuing to monitor the situation, officials said in a tweet Friday afternoon.

“No oil observed at Talbert Marsh; no oiled wildlife observed,” according to the tweet.

The government has approved Amplify Energy’s plan to repair the damaged pipeline

Oct. 2, 2022

Last October, after an estimated 25,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from a broken pipeline connected to an offshore platform in Orange County, oil seeped into the ecologically sensitive Talbert Marsh.

Though authorities initially feared the worst as crashing waves churned up dead fish and oil-covered birds struggled to take flight, a combination of luck, favorable weather conditions and an aggressive response from officials who had learned from previous spills softened the blow.

Officials pointed to favorable ocean current, which pulled the plumes of oil south without large amounts of petroleum hitting the shores.


Beaches as far south as San Diego County saw tar balls but escaped large inundations of oil. That was in marked contrast to the much larger 1990 American Trader oil spill, which left beaches, jetties and wetlands covered in crude, fouling 15 miles of beach in Orange County.

A Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesperson could not be reached for further information on Friday’s sheen.