CDFW, Office of Spill Prevention and Response
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:
Unified Command Grove Incident
July 19, 2016
Some community members have raised questions about technical and communications issues related to the pipeline and to the cleanup effort. The following additional detail is provided in the interest of keeping the public as up-to-date as possible.
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”
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
HEALTH AND AIR QUALITY:
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.