LOS ANGELES – The Coast Guard has confirmed the initial source for the Goleta beach oil sheen that occurred early Wednesday, July 29, 2015 as natural seepage.
Watch standers at Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach received a call from Santa Barbara County Fire Department at 10:40 a.m., Wednesday reporting that there was a large amount of sheen in the water, 1000 yards off Goleta Beach.
The Coast Guard immediately launched a team from the Marine Safety Detachment in Santa Barbara to investigate. An HH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Los Angeles, along with a pollution responder, monitored the sheen during an over flight assessment.
Coast Guard responders reported the sheen to be approximately three square miles. Due to the characteristics of the sheen, described as a thin layer of rainbow sheening, it was considered non-recoverable. The sheen was expected to dissipate naturally. For image of the sheen, click here.
Coast Guard pollution responders conducted a full investigation of the source including sampling of tar balls on the beach, obtaining samples of the sheen offshore, and sampling other possible sources such as a nearby platform and vessels that may have been in the area at the time the sheen was reported. The samples were sent for cross testing at the Coast Guard lab at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.
The lab results yielded that the sheen was a match to the material sampled from known naturally occurring tar balls sampled.