Pacifica beaches reopened 

Four Pacifica beaches were reopened today after a cleanup team deemed them clear of oil, said San Mateo County emergency services officials.

Esplanade Beach was the only county beach contaminated by a 58,000-gallon oil spill in San Francisco Bay on Nov. 7. Three others - Linda Mar, Rockaway and Sharp Park - were also closed as a precautionary measure, said county spokeswoman Beverly Thames.

The county closed the beaches Tuesday when several small, "tear-drop sized" tar balls, as well as a few larger ones, 3 to 4 inches in diameter, had washed ashore at Esplanade Beach, Thames said. Contractors were dispatched to clean the beaches by owners of the cargo ship that leaked the oil after colliding with the Bay Bridge.

According to county spokeswoman Beverly Thames, no new deposits of oil have been found on the beaches since Tuesday. A Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Team surveyed the area and sent their findings to the San Mateo County Environmental Health division, who approved opening the beaches.

San Mateo County's Office of Emergency Services has been working with city and county agencies, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard, and has dispatched boats and airplanes to monitor the spread of the oil.

"Boats have been sent into the bay from Brisbane, Oyster Point, Coyote Point and from Redwood City every day to monitor the shorelines and coves," Thames said.

Cleanup volunteers in San Mateo County can receive information at http://www.smcalert.info. Information on the cleanup and monitoring effort can also be found at the county's Web site, http://www.co.sanmateo.ca.us.

To report oiled wildlife, residents can call (877) 823-6926; to report oil in the water or on beaches, call (866) 442-9650.

— Bay City News

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