The cleanup of an oil spill that released about 45,000 gallons of crude June 23 near a Ventura, Calif., neighborhood could continue for several more weeks, local news sources reported.
According to KCOY Channel 12 Santa Barbara, more than 150 workers continue to clean up the spill, which erupted from an underground pipeline owned by Crimson Pipeline of Denver, Colo. The oil formed a small lake near a Hall Canyon Road neighborhood and traveled several hundred yards down a dry barranca.
Unlike last year’s Plains All American Pipeline spill in Santa Barbara, the Crimson Pipeline spill in Ventura did not reach the Pacific Ocean, but county officials have warned residents in the affected area to voluntarily evacuate if they are sickened by the fumes.
“The spiller is responsible for paying for all costs for the cleanup. There is no road map for cleanup response. We will go through the different phases of cleanup and at the end we will put the environment back to whole again,” an official with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response told KEYT TV.
The oil escaped from a 10-inch pipeline that moves oil from Ventura County to oil refineries in the Los Angeles Basin.
Crimson Pipelines’ network of pipelines traverses more than 50 cities and a dozen counties. It is made up of 20 pipeline systems connected to crude oil production sites in Southern California and six Los Angeles area refineries.
“Crimson operates with the highest standards and principles – the company culture emphasizes the importance of operating with integrity, providing connectivity and ensuring reliability,” the company’s website states.
In the last decade, Crimson’s oil pipelines have malfunctioned 10 times, resulting in nearly $6 million in property damage. These spills have released about 7,500 barrels of crude oil and other hazardous liquids, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
Last week, Ventura County officials sent an angry letter to Crimson Pipelines leaders demanding the pipeline be shut down again after it was reopened without notifying the county.
A spokesman for Crimson told the Los Angeles Times that Ventura County was being “a bit naive” about the spill, adding that local fire officials gave it the green light to resume and stressing the importance of meeting its business obligations.
“Crimson has a contractual obligation to move oil through that pipeline as soon as it is safe,” Crimson told the Los Angeles Times. “Customers could have sued Crimson for failing to deliver the product.”