Plains All American Pipeline provided the following update as cleanup operations continued near Goleta, Calif. This update is for the Tuesday, June 2, work period and is attributable to Pat Hodgins, senior director, Safety & Security, Plains All American Pipeline, who is serving as the Plains Incident Commander and its representative within Unified Command.
Plains deeply regrets that this unfortunate incident occurred, and we are sorry for the resulting impact to the environment and wildlife, as well as for any disruption caused to residents and visitors. Plains is committed to doing everything in our power to make this right.
More than 1,300 people worked on the response across the five work zones and in the Incident Command Post. Nearly 1,200 people were in the field, and approximately 140 people, including federal, state and local agency partners, were managing the operations in the command center.
The following is an update on activity in the work zones on Tuesday, June 2, which marked two weeks since the incident:
- We continued efforts to address any recoverable oil. One skimmer, 20 other vessels and 10,600 feet of booms were deployed to capture any sheen and protect the shore.
- Oil has been observed from over flights. The area is prone to natural oil seepage and the environmental unit of the Unified Command is assessing possible sources and the distinction of natural seepage versus oil spilled from this response. Out of an abundance of caution, skimming operations continue to occur on suspected natural seeps to help minimize potential impact to ongoing shoreline cleanup activities.
- Nearly all the remaining visible pipeline oil remains co-mingled with the rock and cobble. As the tides ebb and flow, the remnant oil is being churned up by the wave action. We continue to maintain teams on the beach to clean the beaches as this happens.
- Four teams of recovery experts conducted regular shoreline cleanup assessments to direct the deployment of work crews and determine the best methods of removing the oil. Approximately 800 workers were cleaning the beaches.
- In Santa Barbara County, they were collecting oiled seaweed and kelp from the shoreline as well as manually cleaning oil from the rocks in the affected areas.
- In Ventura County, Unified Command is still awaiting final test results that should help identify the source of the oily material washing up on shore. Until we know more, Plains is responding as if this is related to the Refugio incident and commits to do what is necessary to clean Ventura’s beaches.
- Work teams were dispatched to clean affected areas in Ventura County. They are working under the direction of wildlife officials and are being careful not to disturb the nesting areas of the snowy plovers.
- In the area west of the southbound 101, work crews continued excavating the oiled soil. As work resumes on Wednesday, motorists and passers-by may notice an odor as the soil is removed.
- We have completed the initial cleanup and are continuing to monitor the area to determine whether additional work is necessary.
- As soon as the remaining activities conclude and testing confirms the oil has been removed from the soil in the area, we will cover the exposed section of pipe with clean soil.
- For those who have questions or who would like to submit a claim, please call 866-753-3619. We are actively addressing claims as they are received.
- We regret any impact this unfortunate accidental release has caused and are working diligently to provide relief.