Plains All American Pipeline, the owner and operator of the pipeline that leaked heavy crude oil near Santa Barbara, California, has been ordered to continue its cleanup work inland, beachside, and in the ocean, to contain the oil and prevent further shoreline contamination.
The EPA and the US Coast Guard last week issued a joint federal Clean Water Act order that establishes federally enforceable timelines and cleanup requirements for the long-term response action that will be required to clean up the largest coastal oil spill in California in the last 25 years.
Since the 24-inch pipeline ruptured on May 19, with an estimated 105,000 gallons of heavy crude inside, trained cleanup crews have been working to capture and remove oil that has leaked from the pipeline, seeped into the soil, and reached the shoreline and ocean. On the ocean, 2240 feet of hard boom and 1840 feet of sorbent boom have been used, and 10,060 gallons of oily water have been recovered from skimming operations. Crews on land have removed 310 cubic yards of oiled vegetation, 760 cubic yards of oiled sand and 2,610 cubic yards of oiled soil.
The compliance order requires Plains to:
- Continue oil removal and site control operations currently underway until a work plan is approved.
- Submit to the Coast Guard and the EPA by June 6 a written work plan for response activities, including plans for sampling and analyzing air, water, rocks and soil.
- Ensure no more oil is released into the environment.
- Clean up all remaining oil and petroleum contamination at the release and oil-impacted areas.
The EPA and the US Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will be investigating the cause of the pipeline failure, and will continue to investigate the environmental impacts of the spill with federal, state and local partners.
Photo Credit: oil spill via Shutterstock