For most of the week, hundreds of clean-up workers have collected globs of black goo and scrubbed rocks coated with the sticky substance to restore a California beach that was contaminated with oil.
On Tuesday, a 24-inch pipeline ruptured, releasing more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil that seeped into the sands of the Refugio State Beach, 20 miles north of Santa Barbara, California. A fifth of the escaped oil reached the sea, resulting in an oil slick nine miles wide along the coastline.
Cleanup crews have recovered more than 9,000 gallons of oil, but officials warned that a full restoration of the beach is a long, labored process. U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jennifer Williams, who is leading the clean-up effort, said it could take months.
“I do want to manage expectations — cleanup doesn’t happen overnight,” Williams said in a Thursday news conference. “It’s a moving target when you’re talking about oil on the water. It’s a difficult process.”