Wed | Day 15 – Join Us for Thanksgiving CleanUp, Ocean Beach + Bolinas

Per KTS, Matter of Trust, and the SF Dept of Emergency Management:

Volunteer Beach Clean-up Thanksgiving Day

National Park Service Officials anticipate that the high tide on the morning of November 22nd, Thanksgiving Day, may deposit small tar balls and minor amounts of oil at Ocean Beach.

Therefore, the City and County of San Francisco, together with the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service, will coordinate a volunteer beach clean-up to sweep the area for newly deposited oil spill debris. This opportunity is only open to volunteers who have attended training and received a Cosco Busan Disaster Service Worker Identification Card.

Date:   Thursday, November 22nd
Time:   10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Locations:  Report to either of the two locations listed below (Fire Trucks will mark the staging areas):

            1.    Lincoln Way and Ocean Beach Parking Area

            2.    Sloat Blvd and Ocean Beach Parking Area

Details:    Only volunteers with a Cosco Busan Disaster Service Worker Identification Card will be permitted to participate in this beach clean-up activity. Since the amount of debris is likely to be minor, there are no plans to close the beach or to deploy volunteers in full personal protective gear. Volunteers will be provided with the amount of protective equipment necessary in relation to the amount of debris.  Volunteers will be provided with gloves, booties, scoops, hair mats and buckets. Lunch will not be provided at this deployment.

If there is a need for additional volunteer deployment in the coming weeks, information will be posted here  and on the 311 website,  Please check back regularly for the most up to date information or call 3-1-1.



As posted by Natalie Pepper:  “Meet at the Wharf end of Bolinas Beach at 1:00. For info call,  415.302.7712 “


Tue | Day 14 – Future Clean-Ups & Reminder Tips

prep.jpgPer KTS this morning:

“With the Volunteers trained and oil still washing up on our beaches, we know people are frustrated with the official volunteer efforts coming to an end, prematurely.  Stay tuned for additional clean-ups to be organized, timed with the tides.  Please continue to help us get feedback on the state of the beaches, on site, photos, stories.”



Courtesy of Lynn Stone.  Feel free to forward.

  • Picking up Globules: This outline is intended as a refresher for those who have taken the HazMat course. If you have not taken the 4 hour course and you want to pick up oil anyway, the ‘authorities‘ are saying you can’t do that on your own familiar beaches that you love and enjoy. Many people are picking up oil without the training. They could be exposing themselves to toxins.

  • Currently, the officials are are no longer recruiting volunteers anyway. The beaches will have oil washing up on them for a while still. Things may be different in Marin, which was hard hit. Please follow these HazMat guidelines for safety reasons, both for yourself and others. Thank you!

  • Tyvek suits are available at many hardwear stores, as are good nitrile gloves, bags, and good old duct tape! Get a strong garbage bag and whatever tools you want. A kitty litter scoop might work, or some kind of strainer type kitchen tool. Some areas of beach will have big globs, some will be very small. You might want knee pads if you think they would help. What you do with the oil you pick up will depend on where you are. Please do not just put it in the garbage. Call available phone #’s at the top of the page for safe pick up in SF, or inquire locally.

  • General spill and oil info:
    There are spills in the bay every day.The oil was diesel also, so it spread a lot and was hard to boom. The oil is now a slight hazard to clean up crews. It is not a reactive chemical. Good compatibility with the tyvek suits and protective gear.EXPOSURE. Short term exposure is called acute exposure; long term exposure is called chronic.Much of the cancer causing chemicals have evaporated. Fresh oil evaporates toxics, Benzene, toulene, xylene. In low lying areas don’t smoke, as there could be a suffocation risk. The oil is no longer fresh, and fumes should not accumulate. Still, be aware.Rotten oil smell is hydrogen sulfide.This stuff is globtastic, there are up to 6 ft globs.
    Oil is going to a hazardous waste landfill. Type of fuel in spill is IFO-380. Intermediate Fuel Oil- 380 MSDS sheets available for download. Google it
  • This process is going to take a long time, Every wave has thousands of globules. The external surface of the globs has weathered and will not spread and rejoin other globs if they touch.
  • It is only moderately combustable. Extinguish with dry chemical. Fumes could gather in low areas. Don’t smoke; if you eat it don’t induce vomiting as aspiration can cause chemical pneumonia.
  • How toxic is the stuff? If you keep it off your body and don’t eat it, it is not that toxic. Don’t get it on your skin.
  • Health Risks:


Length of exposure and concentration determine risk. The oil contains irritants and carcinogens.

Crude oil likes fats, it likes your skin, it wants to stick on to your skin and soak into it.
Wear a respirator if you think you are sensitive to the fumes.

There are some biological threats in the coastal environments, specifically viral and biological bacteria that can infect cuts. Stay away from sharps (needles).Toxic effects can vary based on gender, age, susceptibilities, health and
routes of exposure- absorption is the #1 way here. You could have toxic effects from inhalation, ingestion, and injection. Don’t do those things.
 Influences on sensitivity: Condition of skin. Duration of exposure. Watch out when you eat, drink or smoke, or better yet: Don’t.
You will smell sulfur. Don’t worry about that, just don’t get the stuff on you.

OSHA allows 5mg/m (then there is a little three up above the last m) every 8 hours of exposure to the petroleum distillated present in the oil. So no problem.

If you eat it (don’t!) you could have nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
If you get it in your eyes, flush for 15 minutes with fresh water.
A skin rash would appear in reaction to the oil sooner rather than later.
If you sweat in gear stay hydrated. You can wear shorts. Suit will keep oily debris off skin.

  • Dealing with the Suit:
  • Get nitrile gloves (not latex gloves).
    You might feel like a dork in the tyvek suit, but it will keep microglobuals of oil off your clothes and hence your skin. Watch out if the suit gets wet as it will weaken and is more likely to tear. Think about tying back long hair and possibly covering it.Jewelry will rip gear sometimes. You might trip on the booties. If you are not working with an official clean-up crew, as these notes were intended for, and you can not get proper booties, you could use bags and duct tape, or designate a pair of old boots for oil cleanup use ONLY. Tape suit over tops of boots. Pay attention to how long you are in the suit. Rest. Take breaks. If you need to take off suit to pee and drink be prepared to do that. You will ruin the suit removing it, so have another ready to put on. Technically you shouldn’t eat or drink in suit. You will need help to get suit on and off. Double glove. Tape front zipper. Sleeves of suit go over gloves and booties. You might have to cut it off. Get help.


  • Questions for the US Coast Guard should be directed to their public information office at (510) 437-3325. 
  • To report oil on the beach or in the water, please call (415) 398-9617.
  • For pickup and disposal of oily waste, please call (415) 398-9617.
  • To report oiled wildlife on the beach or in the water, please call (415) 701-2311.
  • To file a claim for oiled property, please call (886) 442-9650.
  • Public Information Hotline and Media Inquiries, please call (415) 398-9621.

Mon | Day 13 Update – Pacifica, Berkeley, Ocean Beach, Marin

Thank you all for your reports.  Keep them coming in, so we can let the official agencies know where to deploy more resources. 

Per Greg Cochran of Pedro Point Surf Club on Sunday:

 “We have had small amounts of oil washing ashore on all of our beaches.  The Pro Cleanup crew cleaned Linda Mar this AM [Sunday]. Very minimal amounts on all beaches. We will continue to clean as need be. Beaches will remain open, as long as we don’t get massive amounts.  All indicators point to continued small amounts coming in with the High Tides. “


BERKELEY – Volunteers needed
Matter of Trust is sending out more hair mats to Berkeley to get oil off the rocks.  We also had word on Sunday that Berkeley needs more certified volunteers to help with the cleanup of various sites, to supplement the contractor crews’ efforts. 

If you have your card, please call Deborah,  City of Berkeley Dept. of Parks, Recreation & Waterfront  510-703-2825, to be deployed.


OCEAN BEACH: From OB resident, Ben Garcia: “As per sunday at 10 am there was plenty of small oil blobs seen on ocean beach. i walked a small area between fulton and kirkham and in an hour or less had a fistful of oil.”“There were no clean up crews, just ahandful of both gloved and ungloved volunteers that were hoping to find an organized effort. It seems there is still plenty of oil — the blobs are just a lot smaller and harder to spot.”



Per D.Harrison on Sunday: 

“I went by Cronkite today at about noon… Spoke with the Park Ranger and Park Police, word in that hood is that the O’Brien crew had been cleaning that AM (with no “need” for volunteers) and were supposed to be back and were 2 hours late… The park ranger called into dispatch for us and tried to get us cleaning access, but no luck; 1st no guide to “supervise”, 2nd no waste designation area… He than said that a small volunteer crew was at Baker cleaning, but I later found out that was mainly an O’brien/Ind. crew…

….Three Surfers in the water at Cron Sunday AM and a hiker on the coast saw a BIG Great White attacking a seal.  [The shark was] finishing the job right in the breakers… so now Cron is closed to swimmers/surfers due to the shark…But again it looks as if that Marin is still seeing fresh deposits on the beaches, Cronkite is 1/2 way open and all water access is closed due to the shark.   At least mother nature is helping us out, the waves by the way at OB today and at cron were BIG…
But there is still a lot of oil landing, half of Cron was open but both Ranger and Police agreed it was too early to open up access and there should be a lot of volunteers combing the water line and high water line… But there are not…

The word from both employees about Marin is “A big lack of thorough cohesive communication; both on a local and state level with the O’Brien/Indep. cleaners.  Multiple agencies having big issues communicating…”

I will go by a couple of beaches in the AM (Muir/Tennessee Valley) but I hope to have word about Bolinas and Stinson tomorrow as well as the others, again if anybody has heard conflicting news, please let us know.  I have heard that oil has even been found in RCA!”

Sun | Day 12 Update

Per KTS, 403 more folks were trained on Saturday!  That brings it to well over 1400 officially trained in San Francisco.   

Ocean Beach opened up yesterday (although posted signs along the beach still say it’s closed)…but we are getting reports from that Ocean Beach may not be clean enough.  It also sounds like there’s still plenty to cleanup in Marin and East Bay.

East Bay needs help with the wildlife spotting effort (see the East Bay postings). 

For those of you living in OB and Marin, we and our readers want to know about the conditions.  Please write in , while our contacts gather more data.  Pacifica’s Shelter Cove reported oil washing up on Saturday…Our job is still not done, since we still expect to see oil residue washing up at anytime, anywhere.  With your help, we can deploy resources where attention is needed, as KTS is working closely with government agencies.

Per the SF Dept of Emergency Management on Saturday evening:

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (SFDEM) and National Park Service (NPS) staff announced Friday, November 16, 2007 that the cleanup of local beaches affected by last week’s catastrophic Cosco Busan oil spill was proceeding at a faster than expected pace. Officials credited the accelerated pace to the overwhelming response by members of the public, with more than 1400 volunteers trained to help in the cleanup as of Saturday, November 17, 2007.


After Saturday, November 17, 2007, there are no planned deployments for volunteers to participate in beach clean ups related to the Cosco Busan Oil Spill in San Francisco.  In addition, there are no future trainings scheduled.  If there is a need for volunteer deployment in the coming weeks, information will be posted on  Please check back regularly for the most up-to-date information or call 3-1-1. 

BEACHES OPENED as of 11.17.07 Morning

  • Ft. Point
  • Baker Beach
  • China Beach
  • Crissy Field
  • Ocean Beach (Advisory posted)
  • Linda Mar Beach (Pacifica)
  • Rockaway (Pacifica)
  • Sharp Park Beach (Pacifica)
  • Esplande Beach (Pacifica)

View closed beaches here:

Thur 11.15 – Reports, WATER QUALITY TESTING NEEDED | Maverick’s Status

More oil washed into Ocean Beach last night.  That was not good news.  As of this morning, early reports noted that the oil amounts weren’t massive.    However, another surf company owner doing a catalog photo shoot this morning told us: “Ocean Beach today is disgusting.  Stinson Beach isn’t any better.” 

FYI, the officials at last night’s training mentioned that while the cleanup is focusing on what’s being washed up (down to the waterline), the rocks in many places — not just along Ocean Beach — have not had much attention, if at all.

We also understand that some official agencies have been asking surfers about their opinion on the effects of impending swells, their directions and the changing tides.  The oil is getting more suspended or pushed down…much of it is now not on the water’s surface…

According to Pacifica reports this morning from Pedro Point Surf Club’s Greg Cochran, Pacifica “seems oil free,” but Pacifica beaches remain closed. He and others have been doing regular walks with Fish & Game officials.  See the Maverick’s report below.


We’ ve raised water testing questions to many different groups over the last few days. 

Is it being tested?  How often and when? 

How will the public know the status & progress, especially those of us who are surfers, swimmers, kiteboarders and other ocean-lovers who regularly immerse ourselves in the water for long periods of time? 

Last night (Wed 11.14), we asked the EPA and other officials running the volunteer training those very same questions.  The answer? We don’t know.”   

That’s not what we wanted to hear.  For many of us surfers and ocean aficionados,

1.  We are aware that testing for oil may be challenging, given all the other toxic chemicals that are in our local waters.  One of the officials leading volunteer training, Harry Allen of the EPA, mentioned last night that oil spills and other toxic spills of all sizes happen daily in our waters, up and down the coast.  Although many of us know our waters aren’t clean, it’s still alarming to hear that directly.  [By the way, kudos to the EPA, SF Emergency Response, and the Parks Service for all their efforts in putting on the training to get so many of us citizens certified.]

2.  We also worry about those who’ve already breathed in the fumes or were unknowingly in direct contact with the toxic waters  and sand–  surfing, swimming, walking their dogs, or helping with clean-up from Thursday-Monday,  before beaches were shut down.  Some still have headaches, red rashes and more.  [see our area on Health Risks & Tips]. 

3.  We also know that reactions vary, depending upon type of exposure –e.g. fumes vs. direct contact, amount of exposure, and how sensitive someone might be.  Some folks are simply just ultra-sensitive, or have compromised immune systems.

chewie2.jpgTo enjoy our beaches in the future, will we have to develop Hazmat wetsuits — “Chewbacca-style,” made with hair-mat technology? 

We jest for a second, but the matter at hand is serious.  We contacted the SFPUC yesterday, who does regular water testing of area beaches and puts out reports through  The answer we got?  Here’s an excerpt of the staff biologist’s email response: 

“…Our reporting is based upon bacteria levels only.  The oil spill is not our jurisdiction and we do not monitor for oil on the beaches.  The U.S. Coast Guard is coordinating response efforts….” 

Although the SFPUC coordinates the the Dept of Public Health and has updated their reports to reflect that there is an oilspill, we haven’t seen any public report on the actual water quality and any indications when it’s safe to get back in. 

Currently, Kill the Spill doing some work on the testing situation. In the meantime, we urge you to contact your local representatives and demand answers. We’ll post a draft letter you can use shortly, plus email addresses where to send. 

Also rally with your local surf groups AND non-profits focused on water quality, to come up with solutions.  We know some are already working on the issue.  Perhaps we need independent testing, along with official testing.



We don’t have an official report on Maverick’s water quality, but as many know, there is a tight community of Bay Area residents and others who regularly surf the spot in the winter season, outside of contest day, which happens any time during December -April.  Many regulars do not even compete in the namesake contest.

Here’s an email this morning to major surf publications from Grant Washburn, an Ocean Beach resident and well-respected figure in the Maverick’s surf community:

“Maverick’s is now contaminated. A bunker fuel slick and dead birds have been washing up. I’m going down later today to check it out [from the ground in Half Moon Bay]. The main thing surfers should know is that this is not your granny’s motor oil. This is toxic waste. Bunker fuel is nothing like the little tar balls surfers have been frolicking in for decades. This stuff is the nastiest of the nasty, and several. Doctors have told me they believe the substances being sown into our shore are responsible for things like Parkinsons and other nerve disorders – even in trace amounts. It is sucked up by human tissue, travelling right through cell walls.My front line experience has me shocked. I could not believe how bad the goo really is. The vapors are eye-watering and the ocean is covered in an ultra-fine film. This is no small deal. It will definitely put the Maverick’s event and the surfers at risk.” – Grant

We’ll hear from Grant later with a better update.  We are also waiting to hear from Maverick’s contest organizers, whom we are meeting with later today, for an official outlook.  We suspect it will be a “wait & see” situation.

In the short term, it looks like there’s no surfing to be had in the next few days from Marin to San Francisco to the Pacifica/HMB area.  Ouch.  Given the large WNW & SW swells coming in today and throughout the weekend,  the oil is going to be broken up even further.  The oil might just continue washing back up on our shores —  anytime, anywhere. 

For now, keep our officials on their toes and keep cleaning.  But don’t forget to head south for some water fun, at some point.

– Zuna Surf

Thur 11/15 Updated: CleanUps + More Volunteer Training Sessions

[update Thu 11.15 6pm] — A big THANK YOU to the EPA, SF Department of Emergency Management and the National Park Service for putting on more training sessions.

It was impressive to see a turnout of 700-800 folks at the San Francisco volunteer training sessions yesterday (Wednesday).  Due to the huge crowd, the officials condensed the training and turned it into two sessions, 6pm and 8:30pm.

We’ll post the content of the training program and tips shortly.

TODAY’S 11/15 OCEAN BEACH CLEANUP – 8am on @ Lincoln
Ocean Beach remains closed.  Cleanup begins at 8am today Thursday, at Lincoln and Great Highway.   Crew will move northward.  Please sign in at the red tent with your official ID.  Cards from other official training sessions (including Pacifica, etc.) are accepted. 

Remember, have someone else help you taking on/off your Tyvek suit.  DO NOT reuse it.  Also, make sure you’re careful where you step and ensure you’re not trampling oil around on the sand…and tracking oil into your car, house, etc. 

We thought there was an East Bay cleanup going on, but there is not.   For volunteers that have been trained and badged, if you have questions or need to know where the next cleanup is that you can join, stay tuned here.  You can also  call 311 or visit their website at

To join NON-OILED beach cleanups in Marin, Limatour, HMB, Fitzgerald Marine Reserve (we assume certification is not required), visit here:

SAN FRANCISCO TRAINING – please bring photo ID. 
NOTE: 400 participants maximum, each training session; first come, first served.  Location is at the entrance of GG Park.

  • Saturday, 11/17:    8am-noon | Location: County Fairground’s Hall of Flowers, GG Park, 9th & Lincoln
  • Saturday 11/17:  1pm-5pm |  Same as above

BERKELEY/EAST BAY – please bring photo ID

  • Saturday, 11/19: 8am | 1900 6th Street, Berkeley

HALF MOON BAY – please bring photo ID

  •  Thursday 5pm – IDES Building, 735 Main Street.  Sponsored by San Mateo County Alerts ( 
  •  Saturday 8am – Location TBD 

List of Closed Beaches as of Wed 11.14.07

Source: US Coast Guard SF

Bay Area Beach Closures Nov. 14, 2007

  • Clipper Cove Beach, T.I.
  • Aquatic Park (Booms in place)
  • SF Municipal Pier
  • Ft. Point
  • Baker Beach (Heavy Oil)
  • China Beach (Light Oil)
  • Ft. Baker
  • Mile Rock Beach
  • Kirby Cove (Heavy  Oil)
  • Rodeo Beach (Heavy Oil)
  • Tennesee Valley
  • Muir Beach (Heavy Oil)
  • Angel Island (Heavy Oil)
  • Keller Beach
  • Ferry Point
  • Point Isabel
  • Baxter Creek to Lucretia Edwards Park
  • Coastal Access point to Cliffside; Pt. Richmond
  • Middle Harbor Regional Park
  • Steep Ravine Beach (Mt. Tamalpais)
  • Red Rock Beach (Mt. Tamalpais)
  • Crissy Field Beach (booms in place)
  • Stinson Beach
  • Ocean Beach is closed from Lincoln Avenue to the South end of Ft. Funston Beach
  • Linda Mar Beach [pacifica]
  • Rockaway Beach [pacifica]
  • Sharp Park Beach [pacifica]
  • San Francisco Piers 1-39 Booms in place