PRC 421-2 well on Haskell’s Beach update

Sacramento, CA –The California State Lands Commission and its contractors will commence the final abandonment of the PRC 421-2 well on Haskell’s Beach on or about Thursday, Aug. 29th. This is the site of the small oil discharge that occurred in late May.

The Commission’s engineers and agents have developed a detailed and meticulous program to finish sealing the well and any connection it may have to natural fractures in the bedrock. More information on this program can be found on our website at www.slc.ca.gov. The work should take no more than two weeks and will include activities over the Labor Day weekend and holiday to take advantage of a daytime low tide cycles. Beach access in the work vicinity will remain open to the public. Escorts through the work area will be provided to ensure safe passage. However, our team would like to keep the work area passage to a minimum for safety reasons.

Although there is a likelihood that the abandonment work could cause another small oil discharge during the operation, the team has immediate response capabilities to limit the extent of, and recover, any such discharge. Once the well is cemented, there should be no further surface discharges from the well or from natural fractures in the bedrock that may be in contact with the well.

Media contact:

Project Manager, Jeff Planck, at jeffrey.planck@slc.ca.gov | 714.345.7561

Public Information Officer, Sheri Pemberton, at sheri.pemberton@slc.ca.gov | 916.574.1992.

Unified Command to oversee and monitor excavation into root cause of 421 Pier Release

Goleta, CA – The investigation has resumed into the cause of the May 28, 2019, 421 Pier Release, reestablishing the Unified Command. 

The State Lands Commission and its agents, in coordination with the City of Goleta, the Department of Fish Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, and the United States Coast Guard, have continued to investigate the May 2019, oil release from the Pier 421-2 caisson adjacent to the Sand Piper Golf Course. The initial response lasted roughly five days and was concluded June 1, 2019.

 On Wed., July 3, 2019, the Commission, working with a third party, will assess the source of the discharge by excavating outside of the caisson during the low tide in the early morning hours. The goal of the operation is to help the U.C. identify a point source for the 421 Pier Release and identify any potential discharges related to the incident.

Since the release, the Commission and its agents have investigated the interior of the caisson for oil (by coring) and have found no “free oil” (only an oil soil mix). The oil that was released and has repeatedly surfaced is identified as “weathered” because the lighter chemical compounds have broken down or evaporated over long periods of time. Continued sampling of oil surfacing on the beach outside of the caisson has been tested and the oil from the release is not matching the oil from the production zone of the well. The oil surfacing on the beach outside of the caisson, however, does have the same chemical characteristics as the oil sampled during the release. 

Unified Command continues to work with local Tribal governments regarding potential cultural and sensitive sites along the coastline.  

The Unified Command will update stakeholders as the work evolves and as additional information is gathered. The Unified Command’s goal is to ensure that the plug and abandonment operations progress and that the eventual decommissioning and removal of the piers and remaining infrastructure will not pose a health and safety threat or a threat to the environment.

Media Contacts:

Sheri Pemberton, CA State Lands PIO, 916-477-0691

Steve Gonzalez, CA Fish and Wildlife PIO, 916-715-9072

Unified Command concludes response to crude oil release in Goleta

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Goleta – Cleanup operations have concluded along the shoreline impacted by a May 28 crude oil release that occurred at the 421 Pier at Haskell’s Beach. The incident had occurred while crews were working to plug an historic well, releasing an estimated 80 to 125 gallons of crude oil.

Scientists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife have continuously evaluated the shoreline since the May 28 release, and report that the cleanup objectives have been met.

Sensitive environmental sites in the area have also been continuously monitored, including snowy plover nesting sites near Coal Oil Point. No impacts to those areas were observed.

Field crews from the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) have begun to demobilize. At this time, a total of 15 birds have been collected. Staff from the network will be on-call through Monday in case of further reports. Anyone seeing oiled wildlife is asked to call the OWCN at 1-877-823-6926.

Media contacts:

Eric Laughlin, CA Fish and Wildlife PIO, 916-214-3279

Sheri Pemberton, CA State Lands PIO, 916-477-0691

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Unified Command responding to crude oil release in Goleta; Cleanup and investigation ongoing

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Goleta – A Unified Command has been established to respond to a crude oil release that occurred at Pier 421 at Haskell’s Beach. The incident occurred while crews were working to plug an abandoned well, releasing an estimated 80 to 125 gallons of crude oil.

 

Multiple assessments have not detected any sheen on the water, but ground crews have discovered oil and oily debris along the shoreline in the vicinity of Pier 421 and points east. A team of cleanup contractors are working to remove this material.

 

Scientists continue to assess sensitive environmental sites in the area including snowy plover nesting sites near Coal Oil Point. No impacts to those areas have been observed.

 

Crews from the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) have also been activated and will be out assessing the area again tomorrow. At this time, three birds have been collected. The public is asked to avoid any potentially-oiled wildlife, as approaching or trying to help them can do more harm than good. Anyone seeing oiled wildlife is asked to call the OWCN at 1-877-823-6926.

 

All beaches will remain open throughout the cleanup process and there are no impacts to public health, safety or recreational fishing. However, the public is asked to refrain from entering areas where crews are working or cleanup efforts are taking place.

 

Responding agencies include Santa Barbara County Fire, the United States Coast Guard, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, the City of Goleta, and the California State Lands Commission.

 

Public volunteers are not currently needed.

 

For more information about the response, visit owcn.org and slc.ca.gov.

 

Media contacts:

Eric Laughlin, CA Fish and Wildlife PIO, 916-214-3279

Sheri Pemberton, CA State Lands PIO, 916-477-0691