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.