Oil-covered beach near Santa Barbara, California, closed

By The Associated Press | Posted - Aug. 22, 2015 at 4:11 p.m.



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SUMMERLAND, Calif. (AP) — Santa Barbara County, California, officials are trying to determine the source of smelly oil and tar balls that have forced the closure of a popular beach.

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

The beach south of Santa Barbara will remain off-limits until officials determine it's safe for the public.

It's not clear when the beach might reopen or 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.

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The Associated Press

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