Huntington Beach oil company Angus Petroleum is being investigated as the possible source of a spill that sent an estimated 700 gallons of crude into a flood control-channel, it was reported today.
State wardens executed a search warrant Friday on Angus Petroleum, an oil exploration and production facility, to determine if it was the source of the spill, the California Department of Fish and Game's Office of Spill Prevention and Response said Monday.
Chemists with the agency may analyze the oil from the spill to determine if it matches oil at the facility, the Los Angeles Times reported. If Angus is identified as the source, it could be charged with illegal discharge, failure to report the spill and other violations, and be held liable for cleanup costs.
On Jan. 21, residents near the flood-control channel reported smelling oil. The next day, authorities discovered oil sloshing onto the wall of the channel.
The oil traveled 1.8 miles downstream, but Environmental Protection Agency officials said they were able to contain it before it reached the Talbert wetlands or the ocean.
Wardens were led to the Angus facility after finding evidence that the oil traveled to the channel through a nearby storm drain.
Angus Petroleum could not be reached for comment. Authorities said the company was cooperating with the investigation.
The EPA has issued an order that calls for the company to fix its connection to the city's storm drain system to prevent future spills, The Times reported.
Wildlife crews collected 30 dead birds and one dead raccoon from the spill area, but it was unclear if the oil killed them. Six live, oiled birds have been taken to a care facility for treatment.