No evacuations were necessary, although residents may smell crude oil vapors in the air, said Rick Murray, a commander with the Ventura Police Department.
Thousands of gallons of crude oil spilled from a pipeline in Ventura Thursday, though emergency crews were able to stop the flow from reaching the ocean, fire officials said Thursday.
Because its pipeline was undergoing repairs, Crimson Pipeline’s leak detection system was unable to detect the spill that sent 29,000 gallons of oil into an arroyo outside Ventura, according to company spokesperson Kendall Klingler.
Klingler said Crimson monitors the oil pressure in its pipelines from a remote command center.
Under normal circumstances, the company can tell when the pressure dips because of a leak or pipeline break and can respond immediately by shutting the line down.
On Wednesday, the pipeline near Ventura had been drained for maintenance.
On Thursday morning, it was being re-filled with oil, but because the oil pressure was lower than normal, Crimson was unable to detect that a leak was occurring. Klingler said Crimson would have caught the spill eventually, once the pipeline was full again and it was clear it was operating at unusually lower pressure. Fire crews were able to stem the flow of crude before it reached the ocean, officials said at a press conference Thursday.David Endaya, the city of Ventura's fire chief, said his department stopped the oil’s flow downstream with dams and dikes, preventing it from reaching the sea.Ventura County Environmental Health is now vacuuming up the remaining oil, which inundated the arroyo and coated rocks and plants.A maintenance worker with an unrelated oil company found the spill around a.m.Thursday and reported it to Crimson, which shut the line down immediately. The spill was first reported to the Ventura County Fire Department at about a.m. The equivalent of about 700 barrels, or 29,400 gallons, were released in Hall Canyon at Grove Lane and flowed about a half mile down an arroyo, according to Marisol Rodriguez, Ventura County Fire Department spokeswoman and firefighter. and was carrying oil from Aera Energy, Rodriguez said.Officials had earlier estimated up to 210,000 gallons had been released but revised the number down. Crimson Pipeline has taken responsibility for the spill, according to an incident report from the California Office of Emergency Services.