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US A timeline of the California oil spill, from the first report to the clean-up

10:05  07 october  2021
10:05  07 october  2021 Source:   cnn.com

What Was the Worst Oil Spill in U.S. History? California's Huntington Beach Hit by 'Major' Leak

  What Was the Worst Oil Spill in U.S. History? California's Huntington Beach Hit by 'Major' Leak About 126,000 gallons of oil have so far leaked in the waters near Huntington Beach, California. Here's how that compares to America's worst oil disasters.In a press conference hours after the spill was first reported on Saturday morning, Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr called the spill an "environmental catastrophe" and "potential ecological disaster.

The leak of over 100,000 gallons of crude oil off the coast of Southern California first came to official attention with a vague report on Friday night about a sheen on the water.

Booms float in the Talbert Marsh as workers try to limit the spread of oil from a spill from an offshore oil rig in Huntington Beach, California, on Monday, October 4, 2021. © Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register/Getty Images Booms float in the Talbert Marsh as workers try to limit the spread of oil from a spill from an offshore oil rig in Huntington Beach, California, on Monday, October 4, 2021.

It took more than 12 hours for authorities to recognize the extent of the problem.

The time period between those two events is now under closer scrutiny as the extensive oil spill has shut prized beaches, damaged coastal habitats and threatened the health of animals and people who call the area home.

What we know about the California oil spill so far

  What we know about the California oil spill so far A leak in an oil pipeline caused a major spill off the coast of southern California Saturday, sending oil spewing into the local environment, potentially harming wildlife and nearby human residents. © Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP A dead fish is seen after an oil spill in Huntington Beach, California, on Monday, October 4. The volume of the spill pales in comparison to some of the US' largest such incidents, such as the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, although the full extent of the spill won't be known for several weeks, one local official said.

The leak is no longer active, but up to 144,000 gallons of oil may have spewed into the ocean from a 13-inch gash in a pipeline about 4.5 miles offshore, officials said.

Here's a look at what authorities and the pipeline operator knew and did in the aftermath of the oil spill, based on press conferences, statements and government investigators.

Recent past

The San Pedro Bay Pipeline was installed off the coast of California in 1980. The pipeline, which stretches 17.7 miles and measures 16 inches in diameter, moves crude oil from Platform Elly offshore to the Beta Pump Station in Long Beach.

The pipeline is cleaned weekly, according to Martyn Willsher, the president and CEO of Amplify Energy, the company that operates the pipeline. Every other year, the company tests the thickness and integrity of the pipe, and they have "never seen any degradation of the pipeline," he said.

Southern California oil spill: Beaches sit empty and fragile habitats hang in the balance

  Southern California oil spill: Beaches sit empty and fragile habitats hang in the balance A stretch of Southern California's coast has been transformed by a leak at an oil pipe that released more than 100,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean. © Mario Tama/Getty Images HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 04: Workers in protective suits clean oil in the Talbert Marsh wetlands after a 126,000-gallon oil spill from an offshore oil platform on October 4, 2021 in Huntington Beach, California. The spill forced the closure of the popular Great Pacific Airshow yesterday with authorities closing beaches in the vicinity.

An internal inspection of the pipeline was completed in October 2019 and an external inspection was done in April 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.

"It was due for its second internal inspection at the end of this month," he said.

Friday, October 1

The National Response Center (NRC) first receives a report of an unknown sheen of unknown source Friday evening, according to the Unified Command of agencies investigating the leak.

"These types of reports are common and in many cases, the sheen reported can be natural seepage of oil or sheen that is never located," the Unified Command said in a news release. "NOAA satellite imagery was reported to agencies early morning reporting a possible oil anomaly."

Protocol in this situation is to reach out to the reporting source to get more information, according to Coast Guard Capt. Rebecca Ore.

"At that time, as it approaches nightfall, sheens can be very difficult to see on the water," she later explained. "The information from the reporting source that Coast Guard investigators spoke with was inconclusive."

California oil spill: Coastal residents brace for damage as officials rush to contain it

  California oil spill: Coastal residents brace for damage as officials rush to contain it The oil spill off the coast of Orange County is a slow-moving disaster that is still hard for many residents to detect with the naked eye. © Kyle Grillot for CNN Patriot Environmental employees work to clear oil from the surface of the water inside Talbert Marsh. As officials expanded their efforts to contain it, local residents and vacationers were bracing for impact -- scanning a coastline that was still sparkling at many public access points on Monday as they looked for signs of the pipeline leak first officially reported on Saturday and still under investigation.

Saturday, October 2


Video: 126,000 gallons of oil spilled off California coast (CNN)

Crews from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Office of Spill Prevention and Response investigate the sheen report before sunrise, but conditions were foggy and the crew returned to shore, according to the unified command.

"The Coast Guard and Orange County Sheriff deployed at first light once fog lifted to investigate. A Coast Guard aircraft was diverted to support the investigation. On Saturday morning, the company confirmed a release of oil from a pipeline," the Unified Command said.

The pipeline is operated by Beta Offshore, a subsidiary of Amplify Energy. A preliminary timeline of the response is laid out in a notice from the US Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

At 2:30 a.m. PT, Beta Offshore's control room personnel received a low-pressure alarm on the pipeline, indicating a possible failure, according to the agency.

At about 6 a.m., or more than three hours later, Beta Offshore reports the pipeline was shut down.

Amplify Energy Reported Oil Leak Over 12 Hours After Coast Guard First Notified of Spill

  Amplify Energy Reported Oil Leak Over 12 Hours After Coast Guard First Notified of Spill Amplify Energy, which runs the pipeline, did not report the leak until a ship first noticed a potential spill.The National Response Center (NRC), which is staffed by the Coast Guard and notifies other agencies of disasters for quick responses, received two early calls about the spill. The first was from an anchored ship that noticed a sheen on the water on Friday evening.

Another three hours later, at 9:07 a.m., Beta Offshore reports the accident to the National Response Center and indicated crude oil had been released near its pipeline.

Separately, local residents report smelling a strong odor of oil or gasoline.

The Coast Guard issues a press release announcing a Unified Command has been established to respond to an oil spill reported to be about 13 square miles in size about 3 miles off the coast of Newport Beach. The release says aircraft are checking on the incident and asks members of the public to avoid oiled areas.

The Unified Command is made up of the Coast Guard, Beta Offshore and the California Office of Spill Prevention and Response. In addition, the cities of Long Beach, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, and the Orange County Sheriff's Department, are supporting agencies.

Sunday, October 3

Huntington Beach officials report that up to 3,000 barrels, or about 126,000 gallons, of crude oil spewed into the ocean, and later increased the maximum potential oil to 144,000 gallons.

At 1:41 p.m., the US Coast Guard submits a second NRC report that notes marine life covered in oil and dead fish.

At 2:20 p.m., the Coast Guard submits a third NRC report saying that the failure may have been caused by a crack in the pipeline.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife issues declaration of fisheries closure and public health threat caused by oil spill.

Class-action lawsuit filed over California oil spill

  Class-action lawsuit filed over California oil spill A class action lawsuit has been filed against the companies responsible for the oil spill that dumped hundreds of thousands of crude oil off the coast of California. The federal lawsuit, filed Monday in the Central District of California Western Division, claimed the companies in charge of operating the rig and connected pipelines caused harm to people, wildlife and the local ecosystem by failing to prevent the spill from the platform about 4.5 miles from shore, known as "Elly.

Monday, October 4

Divers confirm that a 4,000-foot section of the pipeline was displaced about 105 feet and had a 13-inch split along its side that was likely the source of the leak, the Unified Command says.

Tuesday, October 5

The Unified Command holds a press conference announcing its timeline of actions and explaining what divers and remote operated vehicles, or ROVs, had learned about the source of the leak.

"The pipeline has essentially been pulled like a bow string," Willsher, the Amplify Energy CEO, said at a news conference Tuesday. "And so at its widest point, it is about 105 feet away from where it was. So, it is kind of in almost a semicircle."

A preliminary report indicates the partial tear could have been caused by an anchor that hooked the pipeline, the US Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said in a notice to Amplify Energy.

Gov. Gavin Newsom declares a state of emergency due to the oil spill.

Aging equipment, spills test ties between oil, California .
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hoping to recover a lost anchor chain, a work boat dragged a grappling hook along the seabed near an oil platform off the Southern California coast. But it hooked something else -- a pipeline carrying crude oil from the towering rig to shore. Once snagged, the 197-foot (60-meter) boat dragged the pipeline until it snapped on one of the drilling platform’s legs. The gushing oil created a slick that ran for miles along the Ventura County coast northwest of Los Angeles.

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