Iron Horse Trail Response Update #13

Feb. 11, 2021

The Unified Command responding to the pipeline release in Walnut Creek conducted a site walkthrough and sign off on the initial phase of the response Wednesday. The incident will now enter long term remediation phase facilitated by the SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. Although petroleum hydrocarbons remain in soil underneath the San Ramon Bypass Channel, crews continue efforts to reduce the amount of product reaching the surface while remediation continues.

Iron Horse Trail Response Update #12

Feb. 1, 2021

Crews have now recovered an estimated 458 barrels (19,236 gallons) of petroleum from underneath the San Ramon Bypass Channel. Vapor and liquid recovery continues in the area of Bradley Avenue near the Iron Horse Trail. Work is also anticipated for up to a few days in the area of Sharene Lane. Last week’s rains heightened stormwater levels, but scientists have been monitoring the creek bed downstream, including the Walnut Creek, and have not observed any fuel sheen or affects to wildlife. For more background information, scroll down for the latest fact sheet.

Iron Horse Trail Response Update #10

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
California Department of Fish and Wildlife – OSPR
Kinder Morgan

Jan. 23, 2021

• Crews continue to remove petroleum from underneath the San Ramon Bypass Channel in Walnut Creek, downstream from where a Nov. 20 pipeline crack released an estimated 750 to 1000 barrels (31,500 to 42,000 gallons) of petroleum product.

• As of Jan. 21, an estimated 451 barrels (18,948 gallons) of product have been recovered at the incident site via soil excavation and using soil vapor extraction and vacuum trucks.

• The California State Fire Marshal is conducting an ongoing investigation. A nearby tree root system grew around the pipeline segment and a crack was found in the pipeline. The impacted segment was repaired and returned to service on Dec. 9, with a 20 percent reduction in maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP), after thorough testing and approval by the State Fire Marshal.

• Although much of the product remains underground, some has seeped into the San Ramon Bypass Channel through cracks. Crews have applied sealant, which has reduced seepage. Core holes used to access product have also been plugged when not being utilized. The seep sealant areas will be monitored for effectiveness. Crews will also be monitoring the channel over the weekend as water levels rise from storm runoff.

• A sheen in the channel and odors at the Walnut Creek Intermediate School were reported to Unified Command during moderate rains on Jan. 4. Air and surface water monitoring and visual inspection was conducted soon after. No sheen was documented, though the flow had increased in the channel due to heavy rains. Only low VOC concentrations were detected. Staff will continue to conduct monitoring of both air and surface water at this location, and the response is working directly with the school. Students are currently attending class from home due to the pandemic.

• Containment boom has been deployed at the natural creek bed north of the channel.

• Community and work zone air monitoring and on-site security patrols will continue around the clock. Air monitoring has been conducted 24 hours/day since the onset of the response. To date, no hazardous levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), benzene, or lower explosive limits (LEL) from air monitoring have been detected in the community. Cleanup crews working in the channel are required to wear full face respirators in the event that benzene levels reach 0.5 parts per million.

• Summaries of air monitoring results are being shared with stakeholders, including residents in the area, through Liaison updates that are sent each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

• Soil boring and groundwater wells are being utilized/installed to evaluate potential impacts in the area around the site. Residents in the impacted area are also being offered well testing.

• CDFW-OSPR scientists remain engaged in the response. As of January 21st, 17 small dead fish have been recovered in the work area. The cause of death is still undetermined, but a full assessment of spill-related mortality will be conducted. Crews remain on-scene monitoring for further impacts to wildlife.

• Anyone seeing oiled wildlife should not attempt to capture it but should instead report the sighting to OWCN at 1-877-UCD-OWCN (1-800-823-6926). Fisheries closures are not warranted at this time and have not been implemented.

• The incident remains under the authority of a Unified Command, which includes representatives from the U.S. EPA, CDFW-OSPR, and Kinder Morgan.

• Representatives from the City of Walnut Creek and Contra Costa County Health Services are working closely with the Unified Command to ensure public safety and to develop a comprehensive mitigation plan.

• Kinder Morgan has established a toll-free number to report spill related damage.  Please call 1-877-294-8621 to report damages associated with the release.

Media Contact: Eric Laughlin, Public Information Officer, 916-214-3279

Iron Horse Trail Response Update #9

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
California Department of Fish and Wildlife – OSPR
Kinder Morgan

Jan. 11, 2021

• Crews continue to remove petroleum from underneath the San Ramon Bypass Channel in Walnut Creek, downstream from where a Nov. 20 pipeline crack released an estimated 750 to 1000 barrels (31,500 to 42,000 gallons) of petroleum product.

• As of Jan.11, an estimated 414.5 barrels (17,409 gallons) of product have been recovered at the incident site via soil excavation and using soil vapor extraction and vacuum trucks.

• The California State Fire Marshal is conducting an ongoing investigation. A nearby tree root system grew around the pipeline segment and a crack was found in the pipeline. The impacted segment was repaired and returned to service on Dec. 9, with a 20 percent reduction, after thorough testing and approval by the State Fire Marshal.

• Although much of the product remains underground, some has seeped into the San Ramon Channel through cracks. Crews have applied sealant, which has reduced seepage. Core holes used to access product have also been plugged when not being utilized.

• A sheen in the channel and odors at the Walnut Creek Intermediate School were reported to Unified Command during moderate rains on Jan. 4. Air and surface water monitoring and visual inspection was conducted soon after. No sheen was documented, though the flow had increased in the channel due to heavy rains. Only low VOCs were detected. Staff will continue to monitor this location and is working directly with the school. Students are currently attending class from home due to the pandemic.

• Containment boom has been deployed at the natural creek bed north of the channel.

• Community and work zone air monitoring and on-site security patrols will continue around the clock. Air monitoring has been conducted 24 hours/day since the onset of the response; To date, no hazardous levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), benzene, or lower explosive limits (LEL) from air monitoring have been detected in the community. Cleanup crews working in the channel will be required to wear full face respirators when benzene levels reach 0.5 parts per million.

• Air monitoring results summaries are being shared daily with stakeholders including residents in the area.

• Soil boring and groundwater wells are being utilized/installed to evaluate potential impacts in the area around the site. Residents in the impacted area are also being offered well testing.

• CDFW-OSPR scientists remain engaged in the response. As of January 11th, 17 small dead fish have been recovered in the work area. The cause of death is still undetermined, but a full assessment of spill-related mortality will be conducted. Crews remain on-scene monitoring for further impacts to wildlife.

• Anyone seeing oiled wildlife should not attempt to capture it/them but should instead report the sighting to OWCN at 1-877-UCD-OWCN (1-800-823-6926). Fisheries closures are not warranted at this time and have not been implemented.

• The incident remains under the authority of a Unified Command, which includes representatives from the U.S. EPA, CDFW, and Kinder Morgan.

• Representatives from the City of Walnut Creek and Contra Costa County Health Services are working closely with the Unified Command to ensure public safety and to develop a comprehensive mitigation plan.

• Kinder Morgan has established a toll-free number to report spill related damage.  Please call 1-877-294-8621 to report damages associated with the release.

Media Contact: Eric Laughlin, Public Information Officer, 916-214-3279

Iron Horse Pipeline Response Update #8

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
California Department of Fish and Wildlife – OSPR
Kinder Morgan

Jan. 5, 2020

• Crews continue to remove petroleum from underneath the San Ramon Bypass Channel in Walnut Creek, downstream from where a Nov. 20 pipeline crack released an estimated 750 to 1000 barrels (31,500 to 42,000 gallons) of petroleum product.

• As of Jan. 5, an estimated 390 barrels (16,384 gallons) of product has been recovered at the incident site via soil excavation and using soil vapor extraction and vacuum trucks. The latter two methods will resume once weather conditions change and channel surface water levels subside.

• The California State Fire Marshal is conducting an ongoing investigation. A nearby tree root system grew around the pipeline segment and a crack was found in the pipeline. The impacted segment was repaired and returned to service on Dec. 9, with a 20 percent reduction, after thorough testing and approval by the State Fire Marshal.

• Although much of the product remains underground, some has seeped into the San Ramon Channel through cracks. Crews have applied sealant, which has reduced seepage. Core holes used to access product have also been plugged when not being utilized.

• A sheen in the channel and odors at the Walnut Creek Intermediate School was reported to Unified Command during moderate rains on Jan. 4. Air and surface water monitoring and visual inspection was conducted soon after. No sheen was documented, though the flow had increased in the channel due to heavy rains. Only low VOCs were detected. Staff will continue to monitor this location and is working directly with the school. Students are currently attending class from home due to the pandemic.

• Containment boom has been deployed at the natural creekbed north of the channel.

• Community and work zone air monitoring and on-site security patrols will continue around the clock. Air monitoring has been conducted 24 hours/day since the onset of the response and no hazardous readings have been measured in public areas. Cleanup crews working in the channel will be required to wear full face respirators when benzene levels reach 0.5 parts per million.

• Air monitoring results summaries are being shared daily with stakeholders including residents in the area.

• Soil boring and groundwater wells are being utilized/installed to evaluate potential impacts in the area around the site. Residents in the impacted area are also being offered well testing.

• CDFW-OSPR scientists remain engaged in the response. As of Jan. 5, 17 small dead fish have been recovered in the work area. The cause of death is still undetermined, but a full assessment of spill-related mortality will be conducted. Crews remain on-scene monitoring for further impacts to wildlife.

• Anyone seeing oiled wildlife should not attempt to capture it/them but should instead report the sighting to OWCN at 1-877-UCD-OWCN (1-800-823-6926). Fisheries closures are not warranted at this time and have not been implemented.

• The incident remains under the authority of a Unified Command, which includes representatives from the U.S. EPA, CDFW, and Kinder Morgan.

• Representatives from the City of Walnut Creek and Contra Costa County Health Services are working closely with the Unified Command to ensure public safety and to develop a comprehensive mitigation plan.

• Kinder Morgan has established a toll-free number to report spill related damage.  Please call 1-877-294-8621 to report damages associated with the release.

Media Contact: Eric Laughlin, Public Information Officer, 916-214-3279

Crews have maintained containment and absorbent boom in the channel in an effort to keep petroleum product out of the natural creekbed.

Iron Horse Trail Response Update #7

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
California Department of Fish and Wildlife – OSPR
Kinder Morgan

Dec. 30, 2020

Crews continue to remove petroleum from underneath the San Ramon Bypass Channel in Walnut Creek, downstream from where a Nov. 20 pipeline crack released an estimated 750 to 1000 barrels (31,500 to 42,000 gallons) of product.

As of Dec. 30, an estimated 377 barrels (15,834 gallons) of petroleum have been recovered. The impacted pipeline segment was repaired and returned to service with a 20 percent reduction, after thorough testing and approval by the State Fire Marshal.

Removal efforts over the past week have primarily included vapor extraction from flap gates in the channel, as vacuum trucks have recovered much of the product accessible in the area of Bradley Avenue. Core holes used to access product have been plugged when not being utilized, and sealant used on cracks in the channel has significantly reduced petroleum seepage.

Soil boring and groundwater wells are being utilized/installed to evaluate potential impacts in the area around the site. Residents in the impacted area are also being offered well testing.

Air monitoring has been conducted around-the-clock since the onset of the response and no hazardous readings have been measured in public areas. Cleanup crews working in the channel will be required to wear full face respirators when benzene levels reach 0.5 parts per million.

Air monitoring results summaries are being shared daily with stakeholders including residents in the area.

CDFW-OSPR scientists remain engaged in the response. As of Dec. 30, 17 small dead fish have been recovered in the work area. The cause of death is still undetermined, but a full assessment of spill-related mortality will be conducted. Crews remain on-scene monitoring for further impacts to wildlife.

Containment boom has been deployed at the natural creekbed north of the channel.

Representatives from the City of Walnut Creek and Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials Division are working closely with the Unified Command to ensure public safety and to develop a comprehensive environmental mitigation plan.

The incident remains under the authority of a Unified Command, which includes representatives from the U.S. EPA, CDFW, and Kinder Morgan.

Kinder Morgan has established a toll-free number to report incident claims. That number is 1-877-294-8621.

This photo shows the site after daytime operations concluded on Dec. 29. The area is being monitored around the clock by security guards; the ladder is maintained for emergency evacuation purposes for crews working in the channel.

Safety Fact Sheet – 12/23/20

A multi-agency Unified Command (consisting of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife – Office of Spill Prevention and Response, and Kinder Morgan) has assumed all planning and operations to mitigate the estimated 31,500 to 42,000 gallons of petroleum that remains underground beneath the San Ramon Channel. (As of Dec. 23, an estimated 347 barrels (14,574 gallons) of product has been recovered).

The health and safety of the community residents, the environment, and crew members onsite remains the top priority of all regulatory agencies and Kinder Morgan.

Unified Command has established the following mitigating measures to ensure public safety.

Air Monitoring:

• Community air monitoring has been conducted around-the-clock since the onset of the response by CTEH Environmental Services, a third-party contractor specializing in industrial health and safety and air monitoring activities during emergencies. U.S. EPA resources have supplemented air monitoring activities.

• No hazardous readings have been measured in public areas. The real-time air monitoring program evaluates the explosive hazard as well as chemicals of concern for human health.

• A Unified Command-approved comprehensive air monitoring plan has been implemented, with site-specific action levels, to evaluate risks to the community.

• The standards established for the community monitoring vary by chemical constituent, but in general are conservative values which are based on the EPA’s Acute Exposure Guideline Levels (AEGL) program.

• Worksite air monitoring utilizes the threshold limit values (TLV) and short-term exposure limits (STEL) established by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). For example, the action level for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a 30-ppm reading sustained for 5 minutes, which will triggers the action to measure for other constituents. Separate work zone-related action levels have been established in the direct vicinity of where crews are working in the channel.

• Worker health and safety is continuously being evaluated. You may see workers wearing various forms of personal protective equipment (including respirators) to ensure their safety.

• To date, over 5,000 air monitoring readings in the community have been obtained. No detectable levels of explosivity oof any chemical constituent
have been detected.

• Daily liaison updates, provided Mondays through Saturdays, will include airmonitoring summaries.

Activities Onsite:

•Access is controlled and limited in the immediate vicinity of the work zone to protect safety of responders and the public. 

• Equipment and vehicles within the work area are carefully evaluated and controlled to not introduce an ignition hazard due to the proximity to the petroleum product being recovered. This process includes instrumentation that is intrinsically safe for use in explosive environments and materials selection to mitigate the concern for static charge (e.g., no plastic pipes).

• Diesel powered vehicles enter the channel only after real-time air monitoring has confirmed conditions are safe to do so.

• Petroleum product expressing itself through the channel bottom is captured using absorbent pads and booms to minimize surface area of exposure and volatilization as vapors.

• Specific activities within the incident response area are also carefully selected to mitigate any explosivity concerns. For instance, rigorous safety measures are being implemented with concrete coring, which provides access to petroleum product beneath the channel floor so that it may be removed. The equipment selected for this purpose utilizes a remote hydraulically powered coring machine that operates at slow speed using diamond cutting heads while presenting a complete flood of water at the coring point to mitigate any ignition hazard when in contact with petroleum product.

• Vapor recovery of subsurface soil gas using powerful vacuum equipment to reduce the concentration of vapors is ongoing. The presence of high concentration vapors in the subsurface is not uncommon in release incidents since it is near the petroleum source material. However, there are no ignition sources present below the channel nor adequate void space within this gravel layer to allow for a fire condition. Additionally, utility surveys have been performed to identify and monitor any other paths of migration away from the San Ramon Bypass Channel corridor.

 • The work zones are continuously monitored for worker and community safety and health.

• A daily health and safety meeting is performed prior to all work activities.

• Crews are following CDC requirements by adhering to COVID-19 prevention measures including wearing face coverings, enhanced cleaning protocols forequipment, personal hygiene and handwashing, limiting site access and screening for COVID-19 symptoms. 

Ongoing Site Assessment Activities to Evaluate Extent:

• Collection and evaluation of all subsurface utility maps.

• Evaluation of the topography and hydrogeology of the area. 

• Collection of soil and ground water samples and submittal of samples for laboratory analysis.

• Permitting has been initiated and access agreements will be executed to further install soil borings and ground water monitoring wells to determine the vertical and horizontal extent of the impacts. 

About Gasoline:

• Gasoline is a conglomeration of chemicals. Some of those chemicals have very low odor thresholds – parts per billion or parts per trillion range. Although the nose detects it and tells the brain it is gasoline, it is not at a level that would be of a health concern.

• Gasoline is a highly flammable product and its vapors may be toxic to birds and mammals at high concentrations.

• Four dead minnows were recovered in the work area on Tuesday, December 22. Cause of death is undetermined at this time, but a full assessment of spill-related mortality will be conducted once the spill is over. Crews are on scene monitoring for further impacts to wildlife. 

2004 Pipeline Incident in Walnut Creek:

• On Nov. 9, 2004, a third-party crew with a backhoe installing a water-district main near Newell Ave. and South Broadway in Walnut Creek, CA, punctured a high- pressure products pipeline. The resulting explosion killed 5 construction workers and injured 4 others.

• The 2004 and 2020 incidents are not related. The 2004 incident was instantaneous.

• It was later found that the backhoe was too close to the pipeline because pre- project planning did not detect a bend in the line to accommodate a tree, which had since been cut down.

• CalOSHA, the state workplace safety regulator, found that Kinder Morgan had failed to mark a bend in the Walnut Creek line and found the company at fault.

• The 2020 impacted pipeline segment has been repaired and tested, and with the approval of the California State Fire Marshall, was placed back in service on Dec. 9, 2020. 

• Current operations to recover the product are carefully designed by Unified Command to minimize impact with stringent safety protocols.

Pipeline Integrity Management:

• As part of this incident, a thorough review of the pipeline segment is ongoing, with oversight from all applicable regulatory authorities. On Dec. 9, 2020, the State Fire Marshal conducted an assessment and concluded that it was safe to operate the line with a 20% pressure reduction in our MAOP (Maximum Allowed Operating Pressure).

Remediation:

• Kinder Morgan has committed to long-term remedial efforts.

• A Surface Water Sampling Program, Supply Well and Utility Corridor Assessment, Groundwater Characterization Work Plan, and Soil Vapor Delineation and Threat Assessment Work Plan have been requested by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Water:

• To address concerns of potentially impacted well water contamination, nearby residents’ wells will be tested and lab analysis results provided.

Who to contact:

• For additional information and to subscribe to regular email updates, contact the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR), OSPRliaison@wildlife.ca.gov

• To report possible damages, please call 1-877-952-3317.

Iron Horse Trail Response Update #5

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Kinder Morgan

Dec. 21, 2020

Cleanup crews continue to make progress removing gasoline from underneath the San Ramon Channel in Walnut Creek, downstream from where a Nov. 20 pipeline crack released between 750 to 1000 barrels (31,500 to 42,000 gallons) of product.

Removal efforts include use of vacuum trucks, which are collecting product from core holes drilled in the concrete channel, soil vapor extraction from flap gates in the channel, and skimming of any product that has accumulated at the surface of the channel. As of Dec. 21, an estimated 318 barrels (13,356 gallons) of product has been recovered.

Groundwater monitoring wells are being installed to evaluate potential impacts in the area around the site.

Air monitoring has been conducted around-the-clock since the onset of the response and no hazardous readings have been measured in public areas. Cleanup crews working in the channel will be required to wear full face respirators when benzene levels reach 0.5 parts per million.

The U.S. EPA has mobilized additional resources for air monitoring and both groups of air monitors will continue around-the-clock efforts to collect data. Result summaries on data will be shared daily with stakeholders including residents in the area.

CDFW-OSPR scientists remain engaged in the response and there have been no impacted wildlife observed to date.

The incident remains under the authority of a Unified Command, which includes representatives from CDFW, the U.S. EPA, and Kinder Morgan.

Kinder Morgan has established a toll-free number to report incident claims. That number is 1-877-294-8621.

Unified Command established Update #4

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Kinder Morgan

Dec. 16, 2020

A Unified Command has been established to oversee operations stemming from last month’s pipeline release in Walnut Creek. The command includes representatives from California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Kinder Morgan, which operates the pipeline.

The command will collectively approve ongoing plans to mitigate the estimated 750 to 1,000 barrels (31,500 to 42,000 gallons) of gasoline that remains in rocks and soil adjacent to the pipeline below the San Ramon Channel. So far, vacuum trucks have removed an estimated 75 barrels (3,150 gallons) of product. The release stemmed from tree intrusion in the area of South Broadway on Nov. 20.

This week, contractors continue efforts to remove product which may accumulate at the surface, and remove underground product through existing core holes in the concrete. Efforts have also been underway to construct dam structures to contain excess rainwater from this week’s forecasted storm. Surface water sampling will be conducted, and containment and absorbent booms remain deployed to collect/contain additional product.

Product sheen has not been observed downstream in the natural section of the waterway.

Air monitoring by a third party contractor continues around the clock, and preliminary findings have indicated no hazardous levels of hydrocarbons outside/above the channel.

OSPR crews continue to monitor for impacted wildlife and have not made any observations to date.