Summerland Beach Oil Prompts Health Warning and Beach Closure, CA

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care.
Old wells, new problems: Once upon a time, Summerland, California, was the offshore oil drilling capital of the county. And while the wells were abandoned nearly a century ago, many Summerland residents feel that the unprecedented amounts of oil washing up on their beaches in recent months may be the result of these old petroleum-harvesting spots. Santa Barbara historical museum.


Summerland Beach is closed to the public to prevent adverse health effects and protect the public’s health. The decision to close the beach at this time was due to the volume of oil on the beach and sand, the nature of the oil (more liquid and mixed in the water and across sand as opposed to solid tar balls which are more easily avoidable) and intermittent strong petroleum odors at a level that may cause health effects…

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Summerland Beach’s Oil Seepage Mystery, Independent (04-23-2011)
Before it became the quaint coastal antiquing capital of the Californian South Coast that it is today, with a reputation for stunningly scenic and often empty beaches, Summerland was the hub of Santa Barbara’s oceanic oil rush at the start of the 20th century, the beach providing ground zero for a series of piers and primitive oil rigs harvesting crude from hundreds of offshore wells…