The California oil spill was about 25,000 gallons — one-fifth what officials feared

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Spilled oil washes up in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Monday. The amount of crude that leaked from an offshore pipeline is believed to be about 25,000 gallons, a Coast Guard official said Thursday.

Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP


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«We have a high degree of confidence that the spill amount is approximately 588 barrels,» she told reporters in Newport Beach. «That number may potentially adjust a small degree.»

The spill off Huntington Beach was confirmed on Oct. 2, a day after residents reported a petroleum smell in the area.

Coast Guard officials said it came from a leak in a pipeline owned by Houston-based Amplify Energy that shuttles crude from offshore platforms to the coast. Officials said the cause of the leak remains under investigation but the pipeline was likely damaged by a ship’s anchor several months to a year before it ruptured.

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Bags of crude oil collected by workers on Oct. 7.

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Workers wore protective suits to clean the contaminated beach in Newport Beach, Calif., on Oct. 7.

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Workers wore protective suits to clean the contaminated beach in Newport Beach, Calif., on Oct. 7.

Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP

Some oil is naturally present off the coast of Southern California and residents are used to seeing some tar on beaches, said California Fish and Wildlife Lt. Christian Corbo. Tar samples collected in the clean up will be sent to a state petroleum chemistry lab to determine whether they’re from the spill, he said.

In the coming days, workers will likely start assessing beach conditions in specific areas to determine whether the clean-up is complete, Ore said.

While it’s still possible tar balls will wash up from the spill after that point — and officials will continue to respond to reports that come in — «at some point, and we’re evaluating this right now, we reach a point where we recommend no further treatment on segments of the beach,» she said.

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