Oil-covered beach near Santa Barbara, California, closed

AP News
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Posted: Aug 23, 2015 4:58 PM

SUMMERLAND, Calif. (AP) — Santa Barbara County, California, officials say a popular beach remains closed as officials try to determine the source of smelly oil and tar balls that have washed ashore.

The Public Health Department's Susan Klein-Rothschild said Sunday that strong petroleum odors and oily substances on Summerland Beach have persisted.

She says officials will reevaluate on Monday whether it's safe for the public to return to the beach south of Santa Barbara.

It's not clear where the oil is coming from. The area has history of natural oil seepage from the ocean floor, and there are also old wells in the area. Samples are being tested.

Officials believe the oil is not connected to a May pipeline break about 30 miles away that sent crude out to the beach and ocean.