Orange County health officials pronounced the waters off Seal Beach safe Friday afternoon as cleanup crews carted off the last of nearly 600 tons of sand contaminated by crude oil that leaked into the ocean from an underwater pipeline. Beaches in Long Beach were expected to reopen today.
Officials of the state Department of Fish and Game said damage to wildlife appeared to be minimal so far. But they are still monitoring eggs spawned by grunion that burrowed into the oily beaches on Thursday night, according to Fish and Game Patrol Lt. Mona Lisa Cole.
Cleanup crews hired by Exxon Corp., which owns the leaky pipeline, and wildlife officials shined lights into the water and moved heavy equipment back and forth along the beaches until 1 a.m. Thursday, hoping to keep the grunion away, Cole said.
"It didn't work," Cole said. "They came ashore anyway. We'll have biologists taking samples (of the eggs) every three days, and we'll monitor that closely."