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



The Office of Spill Prevention and Response and Crimson Pipeline formed a Unified Command to oversee cleanup operations following a pipeline spill in Ventura on June 23. The oil was quickly contained in the Hall Creek channel before it could reach the ocean.


At the beginning of the response, the length of the spill was sectioned into Divisions A, B, C and D to manage varying conditions in different areas. (Spill Division Map) Patriot Environmental Services and National Response Corporation Environmental Services removed oil from the spill area with vacuum trucks, hand shoveling, and other mechanical methods. Cleanup work is continuing within current projected timeline for oil cleanup to be completed around September 23, followed by remediation and restoration of the area.

Division A –Recommendations have been submitted for some additional excavation in this area, and work assignments are being developed.

Division B –Additional excavation is occurring with guidance from geotechnical experts.

Division C –Crews will excavate and clean boulders and cobble in a 30 ft. stretch of the upstream portion of the exclusion zone, an area identified as a more dangerous zone owing to an adjacent steep, canyon wall with falling rocks and debris. Work will include the necessary measures to ensure a safe operation.

Division D – No observable impacts from oil were documented. Integrity of containment berms will be monitored and maintained.


All oil estimates are as of July 30.  Contaminated soil continues to be removed and oil estimates will be revised over time. Estimates of oil remaining at the spill site are made by measuring liquid oil reclaimed, estimating the amount evaporated (based on NOAA’s ADIOS model), and analyzing oil coated  vegetation and soil to derive a close approximation of oil content in excavated materials. Of the reported 44,772 gallons spilled, it is estimated that approximately 6,619 gallons have not been recovered as of July 30.

The Oil Recovery Assessment Pie Chart illustrates estimates of spilled oil that were recovered, evaporated, or remain onsite.


The cleanup phase of the Grove Incident response is nearing its conclusion. By early September, Unified Command expects to begin the sign-off process certifying that cleanup is finished in individual parcels. By the second half of September, the remediation plan is expected to be in place, and restoration will begin. All restoration work is expected to be concluded by the second half of October, at which point the response will begin its monitoring stage.


  • For any safety concerns contact the Grove Incident Neighborhood Response at (805) 833-0177.
  • Residents wishing to file a claim can do so via email at or by calling (562) 285-4128.
  • Visit Cal Spill Watch for more information.


Update: Grove Incident Progress Report

Unified Command

CDFW, Office of Spill Prevention and Response
Crimson Pipeline


A multi-agency response effort has been established in Ventura, where a pipeline spilled crude oil into a dry gorge near Grove Lane on June 23. The oil was contained before it could reach the ocean. A Unified Command is overseeing the ongoing cleanup operations.


 At the beginning of the response, the length of the spill was sectioned into four divisions to manage varying conditions in different areas. Division A is located at the top where the spill originated. Divisions B, C and D progress in order down the canyon. (Spill Division Map) Patriot Environmental Services and National Response Corporation Environmental Services removed oil from the spill area with vacuum trucks, hand shoveling, and other mechanical methods. Cleanup has progressed to hand cleaning of rocks. Geotechnical experts have conducted an inspection and are assessing methods for conducting remaining work safely. Following is current status for each division:

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General Process Supporting Environmental Recovery

The priority of any cleanup effort is the safe and effective pursuit of “net environmental benefit.” Regulatory agencies, response experts and scientists use net environmental benefit analysis (NEBA) because some spill response cleanup options can be unacceptably destructive to plants, animals and habitats. These emergency responders compare the environmental consequences of natural recovery against the consequences to actively removing the oil in order to select the “best” and least harmful cleanup strategies to help the environment recover and benefit the public. This includes consideration of “bioavailability,” which means the degree, to which the oil can come into contact with, and potentially impact, wildlife and habitats. Options available range from extensive removal of soil and sediment, all the way to natural weathering. Other tools available to responders include washing, hand cleaning, vacuuming, use of absorbent pads and booms, etc. In some cases where the actions taken by responders and equipment could cause more damage to the wildlife, environment and responder safety, best practice could be allowing the oil to naturally degrade.

While “clean” means the oil has been substantially removed, sites may not be completely oil-free or fully recovered. Determining “how clean is clean” depends upon many criteria including ecological, toxicological, legal, and political criteria. Each spill is different so scientists look at many factors including, but not limited to, the following:

  • degree of oiling
  • type of oil
  • risk to receptors
  • cleanup technologies
  • habitat type (e.g., shoreline type/geomorphology)
  • species present
  • ecological factors
  • archeological factors
  • cultural resource issues
  • bioavailability of the oil
  • safety concerns (risk to human life to perform cleanup)
  • logistical issues
  • waste minimization issues
  • anticipated rate of natural “cleaning”
  • weather

Grove Incident

Emergency Response: During the emergency response of the Grove Incident, several earthen dams were constructed to limit the spread of the spill. Oil spill response contractors used vacuum trucks to remove pooled oil from the dry bed of the Hall Creek Channel.

Following removal of pooled oil controlled flushing and recovery operations occurred. Techniques included the use of hot water to more effectively remove oil from large boulders and cobbles. Vegetation was cut using hand tools to minimize disturbance of the natural surroundings.

Maintenance and Monitoring: These actions are still being engineered and discussed among regulatory agencies, response experts and scientists. They are looking closely at the dynamics of the creek during dry and wet conditions, the geologic stability of the creek boundaries, the animals and vegetation living in the area, and the residents and local community to find the most effective methods for clean-up for this response.

Grove Incident progress report


July 10, 2016


The results of ongoing air monitoring and sampling indicate that the air is safe to breathe in the community surrounding Prince Barranca. These results are being shared daily to the Grove Incident Unified Command (UC), which includes representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (CDFW/OSPR), and Crimson Pipeline.

Air monitoring and sampling results have also been reviewed by the Ventura County Department of Public Health. The Ventura County Department of Public Health was satisfied that the air monitoring operations are both thorough and complete and expressed that the reported results do not suggest a risk to public health.

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Frequently asked questions – Grove Incident

Grove Incident Unified Command

California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Office of Spill Prevention and Response
Crimson Pipeline


When and where did this oil spill happen?

At about 5:50 a.m. on June 23, 2016, a pipeline spill was reported to the California Office of Emergency Services in Ventura County. Crimson Pipeline immediately shut down the line, and the spill was contained in Hall Creek Channel in the vicinity of Grove Lane and Grove Street, in the City of Ventura.

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UPDATE: Cleanup operations ongoing after pipeline spill in Ventura

For Immediate Release
Unified Command

Ventura, Calif. – A multi-agency response continues to manage cleanup operations in the area impacted by a June 23 pipeline spill in Hall Canyon, Ventura.

On-scene crews include 98 responders, who have recovered a significant amount of pooled oil utilizing vacuum trucks. Cleanup operations are complex due to steep terrain.

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