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Stunning Photos Show Scope Of 105,000-Gallon Oil Spill On California's Coast

Tuesday's pipeline rupture near Santa Barbara may have sent 21,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific. By Wednesday morning, cleanup crews had removed more than 6,000 gallons.

Last updated on July 3, 2018, at 1:16 p.m. ET

Posted on May 20, 2015, at 8:07 p.m. ET

Cleanup crews worked to remove tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil from the Southern California coastline after a pipeline ruptured on land Tuesday.

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Volunteers carried buckets of sludge from the oil slick at Refugio State Beach.

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
William McConnaughey, 56, who drove from San Diego to volunteer, carries buckets of oil from an oil slick in bare feet along the coast of Refugio State Beach in Goleta, California on Wednesday.
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

William McConnaughey, 56, who drove from San Diego to volunteer, carries buckets of oil from an oil slick in bare feet along the coast of Refugio State Beach in Goleta, California on Wednesday.

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
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The spill took place Tuesday afternoon, after a pipeline owned by Plains All American ruptured.

A remote worker noticed abnormalities in the pipeline's flow around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and shut it off, according to the company. The cause of the rupture won't be known until the area can be excavated.
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

A remote worker noticed abnormalities in the pipeline's flow around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and shut it off, according to the company. The cause of the rupture won't be known until the area can be excavated.

Oil spilled from the pipeline to a storm drain and into the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday. As much as 105,000 gallons of oil may have been spilled in all.

Michael A. Mariant / AP

Of that, officials estimate 21,000 gallons reached the ocean. The oil sheen stretched nine miles by Wednesday.

Brian Van Der Brug / Getty Images
A helicopter coordinates ships below pulling booms to collect oil from a spill near Refugio State Beach on Wednesday.
Michael A. Mariant / AP

A helicopter coordinates ships below pulling booms to collect oil from a spill near Refugio State Beach on Wednesday.

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The beach and nearby campgrounds were closed indefinitely as cleanup continued.

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife also responded to the spill.

A volunteer holds an octopus covered in oil along the coast of Refugio State Beach on Wednesday.
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

A volunteer holds an octopus covered in oil along the coast of Refugio State Beach on Wednesday.

A pelican covered in oil lay on the beach on Wednesday.
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

A pelican covered in oil lay on the beach on Wednesday.

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An octopus spattered in oil lays on Refugio State Beach on Wednesday.
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

An octopus spattered in oil lays on Refugio State Beach on Wednesday.

A shrimp is covered in oil on the beach on Wednesday.
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

A shrimp is covered in oil on the beach on Wednesday.

A bird covered in oil flies over an oil slick along the coast of Refugio State Beach.
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

A bird covered in oil flies over an oil slick along the coast of Refugio State Beach.

A fish covered in oil lays on the sand at Refugio State Beach.
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

A fish covered in oil lays on the sand at Refugio State Beach.

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It's not yet clear how much cleanup will cost.

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
"The response effort is focused on protecting the safety of first responders and the general public while minimizing the impact to the environment and preventing migration of oil to the shoreline," a Plains All American Pipeline spokesperson said in a statement.
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

"The response effort is focused on protecting the safety of first responders and the general public while minimizing the impact to the environment and preventing migration of oil to the shoreline," a Plains All American Pipeline spokesperson said in a statement.

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Plains All American Pipeline said it will reimburse the state and federal government for cleanup costs under "established procedure."

Brian Van Der Brug / Getty Images
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A television presenter walks in an oil slick along the coast of Refugio State Beach in Goleta, California, United States on Wednesday.
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

A television presenter walks in an oil slick along the coast of Refugio State Beach in Goleta, California, United States on Wednesday.

A pelican glides over oil soaked kelp and oil sheen as cleanup effort continues.
Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A pelican glides over oil soaked kelp and oil sheen as cleanup effort continues.

The company has called the spill an "unfortunate accidental release."

Brian Van Der Brug / Getty Images

"It smells like what they use to pave the roads," tourist Fan Yang, of Indianapolis, told the Associated Press. "I'm sad for the birds — if they lose their habitat."

Brian Van Der Brug / Getty Images
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