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.

Background

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

Update: GROVE INCIDENT PROGRESS REPORT

BACKGROUND

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.

CLEANUP PROGRESS

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.

REMAINING OIL ESTIMATES

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.

TIMELINE TO RESPONSE CLOSURE

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.

NEIGHBORHOOD FEEDBACK AND RESOURCES

  • 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 claims@crimsonpl.com or by calling (562) 285-4128.
  • Visit Cal Spill Watch for more information.