SANTA MONICA, CA – A stretch of Santa Monica Beach, including the pier, was once again open Thursday morning, less than 12 hours after being evacuated the previous night following a hazardous materials scare.
The area between the 1700 block of Ocean Front Walk to Tower 15 — which is north of the Santa Monica Pier — was first shut down around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, a short time after what appeared to be chunks of white-colored material washed ashore.
The substance was only located around the pier area, according to Los Angeles County Lifeguard spokesman Ken Haskett.
The material was initially described as “hazardous acidic substance,” and prompted lifeguards to clear the water and asked beachgoers to avoid the shoreline until tests could be performed on the chunks.
Soon after, a HazMat crew responded to the scene, tested the substance and determined that the material was not hazardous.
It was identified as a fatty acid called linoleic acid, something that is similar to rancid cooking oil, according to A.J. Lester of the Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Division.
Authorities were not sure where exactly it originated, but possibilities included from a boat or a restaurant.
A portion of the beach was reopened after the test ruled that the material was not hazardous, and the entire stretch was open again shortly before 7 a.m., according to a deputy fire chief with the Santa Monica Fire Department.
He added the pier, which had also been evacuated, was reopened as well.