An oil leak was reported to state agencies on March 16 by California Resources Corporation (CRC - Formerly Vintage Petroleum). The initial report stated the spill was coming from a buried pipeline. But as of 8:50 am this morning (March 18) the investigation continues to try and pinpoint the leak.
Scroll down for video of the site.
Alexia Retallack, A spokesperson with the California Office of Spill Prevention and Response, a division of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the lead agency at the spill site - indicated crews were digging to nail down the exact source of the crude oil seeping up near a tributary to Sisar Creek and ultimately Santa Paula Creek. The creek is mostly dry now, but there are pools of water, and enough fluid in the creek that the Hazardous Materials section of Ventura County Environmental Health estimated over 400 gallons of a combination of crude oil and water was sucked up into a vacuum truck since crews began cleaning up the seepage. Retallack said they are sucking it up into the truck to prevent it from getting any further into the tributary. CRC is also onsite assisting in the excavation of nearby pipelines.
She also said the investigative team has not found any indication that wildlife has been impacted in anyway, but they will continue to monitor for impacts.
CDFW investigators are taking into consideration the fact that many naturally occurring seeps are located in the Upper Ojai area, and they want to ensure the seepage being seen is not simply a new seep, but is in fact coming from an oil production facility. Retallack said the team has taken samples of the crude they are finding near the creek bed and compare it to other crude sources at nearby oil production facilities. "Material that has travelled through the pipelines has a different signature than oil from a natural seep," said Retallack.
The investigation is on going. Read more from VCInFocus writer Kimberly Rivers HERE at the Ojai Valley News.
This video shows the site, the vacuum truck and the tributary.
This video shows a Patriot Environmental employee using the hose from the vacuum truck to suck up fluid from the creek bed. AT the end of the video you can hear another employee (off camera) ask "Is it still seeping?" and this employee nods his head.
VC District Attorney fines CRC (Formerly Vintage Petroleum) for spills - Civil Environmental Prosecution
According to a press release dated March 3, 2015 from the Ventura County District Attorney, California Resources Corporation (formerly Vintage Petroleum) has been fined $200,000 in "penalties, costs and restitution" in a settlement stemming from a civil environmental prosecution involving spills of oil and produced water at various Ventura County facilities operated by CRC (Vintage) between March 2011,and August 2014.
Full story coming this week in the Ojai Valley News.
Los Padres ForestWatch and Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas (CFROG) have filed appeals with Ventura County Planning on a project for 19 new wells in the Barker-Ferndale Lease near Thomas Aquinas College.
Details regarding the appeal can be read in the Wed. edition of this weeks Ojai Valley News.
One issue raised by the appellants was the fact that produced water – water that comes up with the oil and gas – is transported via a pipeline from the Barker-Ferndale lease to the nearby Hamp lease, into the injection disposal well named Hamp 72.
At first glance, this arrangement seems to fly in the face of regulations, which require privately owned (by the oil operator) non-commercial injection disposal wells only be used to dispose of waste extracted from the same reservoir that it will be injected back into. Only waste from the same underground formation that Hamp 72 injects into, can be disposed of back into Hamp 72.
Local watchdog groups began asking questions about the transport of waste from Barker-Ferndale to the Hamp lease, and whether this was a violation.
State officials from the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) have confirmed this transport of wastes is allowed, and Hamp 72 injects back into the same formation that Barker-Ferndale extracts from.
“As part of a facility consolidation at the Barker-Ferndale lease, produced water from the Barker-Ferndale lease, and the Hamp lease is disposed into well Hamp 72 (API 111-21271),” said Don Drysdale, public affairs director with DOGGR, responding to VCInFocus via email. “Both the Barker-Ferndale lease and the Hamp lease produce from the Monterey Miocene formation found at an average depth of 5,350 feet (true vertical depth).”
Since both leases extract from the same underground formation, transport and disposal of waste from one to the other is allowed according to the California Code – only if both leases are ran by the same operator. California Resources Corporation Inc. (CRC), formerly Vintage Petroleum (Occidental) operates both leases.
“Produced water from the same operator can be injected into approved UIC (Underground Injection Control) wells within the same zone,” said Drysdale.
Contrary to recent reports regarding the current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigation, there are
24 disposal injection wells, and 51 injection wells used for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques.
Reports in a certain local paper, printed today, March 2, 2015 say there are only 19 wells being examined in Ventura County.
The entire list is on an excel spreadsheet, and the two types of wells are separeated by sheet tabs at the bottom of the Excel workbook page.
For more on the EPA investigation into injection wells being allowed in potentially protected aquifers (according to federal law) CLICK HERE.
Below is the list of EOR and disposal wells in Ventura County under investigation:
VCInFocus founder Kimberly Rivers has written the cover feature story in this weeks VC Reporter. It is an overview of various issues in the oil and gas industry going on right now - and in the coming months - throughout Ventura County. From Ojai to Oxnard, from Piru and Fillmore to Simi Valley - events are unfolding in the oil and gas industry.
Click image or here to read that story.
And to the east, officials have found unpermitted, unlined pits being used to store oil, oil fields waste and more. This story continues to show the lack of oversight and gaps in regulation in this industry.
Story in the LA times HERE.