Thursday, February 1, 2007

Oil Spill in Los Padres Reported

An oil spill in Tar Creek of the Los Padres National Forest was reported on Wednesday. According to a report by Congresswoman Lois Capps, five to seven barrels, the equivalent of 210 to 294 gallons of oil, and 80 barrels or 3,360 gallons of industrial waste water were spilled from a broken pipe.
The site of the spillage belongs to a private oil company in the Sespe Oil Fields, said Emily Kryder, press secretary for Capps.
The spill has been estimated to have traveled two miles and has already contaminated Tar Creek which is about 25 miles east of Ojai. Tar Creek flows through a condor sanctuary and is also a tributary to the Sespe Creek, a wild and scenic river.

Based on additional surveys, the oil is estimated to have moved 3 miles down Tar Creek from the spill point of origin. That is about 3 miles upstream of the confluence of Tar Creek and Sespe Creek where condors are known to drink. A boom has been placed on Tar Creek, one mile upstream from Sespe Creek, to capture any oil that gets past the last weir dam. The spill has not impacted threatened or endangered species. State Department of Fish and Game staff have walked the length of Tar Creek. Aside from insects, no oiled wildlife has been observed or reported.
Water from the Tar Creek Tank Battery, located on private land, is pumped through the waste water line to the Hansen-White Star Produced Water Plant on federal property. When the leak developed in the waste water line, water and then oil floating on the water drained from the water tank, resulting in the spill.
The oil is a light grade, similar in consistency to motor oil. The groundwater contains naturally dissolved minerals, but the oil is the environmental concern. While Tar Creek does have naturally occurring “tar seeps” in its waterway, and the spill was caught early and is relatively small, the incident is significant given the importance of the Sespe Condor Sanctuary in recovery of the endangered California condor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What to do about this? Is the oil company fined and made to pay for all damages?