Santa Monica Beach was temporarily closed Wednesday night after a white substance washed ashore just north of the Santa Monica Pier.
Lifeguards cleared the water and notified the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Health Hazardous Materials Division (HHMD). HHMD investigators tested the material and discovered that it was linoleic acid—similar to common cooking grease—and not hazardous to the public.
Santa Monica Beach Maintenance started cleaning the beach shortly after 11 p.m., and the beach returned to normal operations early Thursday morning. Crews collected enough linoleic acid to fill about half of a standard beach trash can.
The source of the linoleic acid is undetermined.