In response to exceptionally strong petroleum odors coupled with bigger and more tar balls at Summerland Beach by Loon Point and more oil in the water, Santa Barbara County health officials have issued a health warning and closed the beach. Initially, members of the public were encouraged to stay away from the beach, but Public Health has now declared it out of bounds until further notice.
Summerland Beach, home to the first coastal oil development in California, has long had its petro-sheen issues, but the intensity reached levels this Friday afternoon that caused county health officials to dispatch hazardous materials workers to the site to determine the cause. Thus far, no source has been identified. County health spokesperson Susan Klein-Rothschild said the issue is being monitored closely by multiple departments — County Parks, Public Health, and the Air Pollution Control District — to determine what the next step — if any — should be. Conditions can change, she cautioned, almost by the hour.
Klein-Rothschild did add that the tar balls have been sent to labs for testing, but that county health officials did not want to wait for the results to come back before issuing a health warning.