Tanzanite Pond Incident Summary

OSPR field team responded to a release of red dye diesel fuel from a storage tank located at Commerce Road and Arena Blvd in the Natomas area of the City of Sacramento. The product flowed through a nearby storm drain and canal that runs along Interstate 5 and into the Tanzanite Community Park Pond on Nov. 14, 2022.

Staff from the US Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), the City of Sacramento, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention & Response (OSPR) and Hines Interests Limited Partnership (representing the Natomas Development Partners LLC) formed a Unified Command (UC) to manage the cleanup of the spill response and impacted wildlife.

City of Sacramento officials closed public access to the park to support cleanup and wildlife capture operations for the oil spill during the response.

The UC oversaw the cleanup and assessment of the pond shoreline, the storm drains and the source of the diesel release. Cleanup crews removed diesel from the water surface and shoreline with a vacuum truck and sorbent pads, and deployed containment boom to keep the diesel from spreading. Cleanup crews cleaned the storm drains with high pressure washing to release oil from the shoreline sediment where it was then recovered from the water surface with sorbents.

OSPR activated the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) as part of the Wildlife Branch for the spill response. The Wildlife Branch conducted reconnaissance and captured and cared for affected wildlife including birds, mammals, reptiles, and fish. Impacted birds were treated at the San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife Care and Education Center and impacted beavers were treated at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue.

Sacramento City Fire and U.S. EPA conducted real-time air monitoring around the pond and near the Natomas neighborhood. No readings indicated unsafe air quality levels.

On Saturday, Nov. 19, Sacramento City re-opened the basketball court and skate park, but the remainder of the park remained closed to the public to support cleanup and wildlife capture operations.

Cleanup crews completed work on the storm drains on Nov. 28. With rain in the forecast, responders replaced sorbent boom at the outfall to the pond and in the canal to capture product that could be mobilized by rain. Sheen appeared in the pond after heavy rain that week.

Fully cleaned and rehabilitated birds were released back to the environment on December 2, 7, 20 and 29. Fully Cleaned and rehabilitated beavers were released on December 15 and 29.

The Unified Command concluded the emergency response phase of the cleanup at the pond on Dec. 14, upon inspection and confirmation that cleanup objectives had been achieved.