Grove Incident Cleanup Standards Met; Bioremediation Being Applied in the Next Phase of the Operation

Unified Command – Grove Incident
For Immediate Release

Ventura, Calif. –The Unified Command overseeing the June 23 Grove Incident pipeline spill in Ventura verified that the manual cleanup endpoints have been met.

As part of the Unified Command’s ongoing commitment for an effective response, operations are moving from physical cleanup methods to a bioremediation technique that accelerates the natural degradation of oil in the environment.

Cleanup personnel will apply a product known as “Micro-Blaze.” It contains a blend of wetting agents, nutrients and several strains of safe, non-pathogenic Bacillus bacteria that will degrade the remaining contaminants into smaller molecules to speed their decomposition. The byproducts from this process are harmless to people and the environment, and include carbon dioxide, water and trace salts. Micro-Blaze is listed by the EPA on the National Contingency Plan Product Schedule and is licensed by the state of California.

Restoration activities are expected to begin in late-September.  The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, Ventura County Watershed Protection District and CDFW are included in the long-term restoration plan.

Cleanup endpoint standards included:

  • No free oil in areas that are accessible
  • Oil stain in creek soil that does not produce a rainbow sheen
  • Rocks free of an oil coating (a stain is permissible)
  • Natural degradation of remaining oil poses low risk to humans, natural resources and cultural/historical artifacts

Manual cleanup was also constrained by the need to keep workers safe and preserve the sensitive barranca walls.  Therefore, excavation and sediment removal was limited in some areas.


The Grove Incident occurred on June 23 in the Hall Creek channel. A pipeline owned by Crimson Pipeline released approximately 1,075 barrels of light crude into a gorge referred to as Prince Barranca, or the Hall Creek channel.

Cleanup has been complicated by the steep walls of the barranca. However, all of the pooled liquid product has been recovered. The volume of oil in excavated soil, vegetation and other materials will be quantified and added to the final calculations of oil recovered. Previous cleanup techniques have included vacuuming, excavation and hand-scrubbing of stones.

Unified Command is a structure that brings together agencies that have spill response authority and organizations involved in a spill incident in order to coordinate an effective response, while allowing each to carry out their own jurisdictional, legal and functional responsibilities. The Unified Command for the Grove Incident includes the Office of Spill Prevention and Response, US Environmental Protection Agency and Crimson Pipeline.

For more information on the Grove Incident, visit Cal Spill Watch.

Contact: Eric Laughlin, OSPR PIO, 916-214-3279