Thursday, February 22 , 2018, 3:25 am | Fair 36º


Local News

Crews Cleaning Up Oil Pipeline Leak in Orcutt

Officials from Phillips 66 Santa Maria Refinery estimate that about 42 gallons of crude were visible on California Boulevard; the cause is under investigation

A CalFire representative monitors the cleanup Wednesday after a Phillips 66 Santa Maria Refinery pipeline leak was discovered on California Boulevard near Foster Road in Orcutt.
A CalFire representative monitors the cleanup Wednesday after a Phillips 66 Santa Maria Refinery pipeline leak was discovered on California Boulevard near Foster Road in Orcutt. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A leaking pipeline is being blamed for the release of approximately 42 gallons of oil on California Boulevard in Orcutt.

Crews from Phillips 66 Santa Maria Refinery and regulators Wednesday were at the scene of the incident in front of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department substation on California Boulevard, just south of Foster Road.

Phillips 66 spokeswoman Janet Grothe said the company’s representatives were notified at 9:45 p.m. Tuesday about crude oil on the ground near the pipeline right of way.

“We immediately shut down our crude oil pipeline and notified the appropriate state and federal regulatory agencies,” the company said in a statement.

Cleanup efforts involving Phillips 66 personnel and the company’s oil response contractors occurred Wednesday at the site, where heavy equipment and pickups filled part of the substation parking lot. A CalFire representative also was on the scene.

Although an official estimate of the spill wasn’t available, company representatives estimated that less than one barrel, or 42 gallons, leaked from the pipeline.

“Air monitoring indicated there is no health risk to the community,” the company statement said. 

Grothe did not know how long the cleanup effort would last.

"We'll continue to work until it's cleaned thoroughly," she said. 

After shutting down the pipeline, crews were removing contaminated soil in the area, Grothe said.

"The source of the leak has been identified and the pipeline is being repaired," Grothe said in a written statement Wednesday night. "With oversight from regulatory agencies, we will test and inspect the pipeline to ensure it is safe to return to service before resuming operations."

The company has a regular inspection program, but Grothe did not have information about when the leaking pipeline was last inspected.

The Phillips 66 Santa Maria Refinery on the Nipomo Mesa in southern San Luis Obispo County has operated for nearly 60 years. 

The affected pipeline runs from the Phillips 66 pump station in Orcutt and connects to another pipeline that supplies the refining facility, which continued to operate.

The facility has generated controversy recently due to a proposal to bring oil to the refinery via railcar.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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