Pixel Tracker

Sunday, December 16 , 2018, 5:20 am | Fair 42º


Initial Results Show Some Tar Balls Found South of Santa Barbara County Were From Refugio Oil Spill

Initial results show at least some of the tar balls found on beaches in Ventura and Los Angeles counties came from remnants of the May 19 oil spill off Refugio State Beach on the Gaviota Coast of southern Santa Barbara County.

Plains All American Pipeline, which is responsible for the spill and subsequent cleanup efforts, released a portion of its lab results Monday.

Scientists have been working since earlier this month to provide chemical “fingerprints” for the tar balls to determine whether they originated from the local Line 901 leak or from natural oil seeps.

More than 50 samples were taken from the shoreline west of Gaviota and south to San Clemente Beach, and the U.S. Coast Guard collected another nine from locations along Manhattan Beach where tar balls were reportedly spotted last month.

“Analysis of initial samples suggests that some of the Line 901 released oil appears to have migrated over time to beaches in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties, along with oil from other sources, some of which has been confirmed to be from natural oil seeps,” Plains said in a statement.

Of six samples analyzed to date, results show two were consistent with oil from the Plains release and four were consistent with natural seep samples in the Santa Barbara region.

Results for the remaining three samples were pending, the oil company said.

Scientists from UC Santa Barbara and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts used oil fingerprinting to determine the source of shoreline oiling by industry, researchers and government and regulatory entities.

Once lab results are complete, sampling results will be posted on a Plains website

The source of the May 19 oil spill — a portion of badly corroded, ruptured pipeline — is about a mile north of Refugio State Beach, or about 10 miles from the edge of Goleta and about 40 miles up the coast from the Ventura County line.

Initial Refugio oil spill cleanup efforts were nearly finished last week, but the long-term impacts are largely unknown.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >