Following is a condensed summary of talking points prepared for Plains representatives Rick McMichael and Patrick Hodgins in connection with the news conference held on May 28, 2015 at 3pm:
Recovery Effort and Excavation Updates
Source: Rick McMichael, Senior Director of Operations, Plains All American Pipeline
We continue to make progress in each of the five work zones. There are now close to 1,200 people working on the response across the five zones and in the Command Center; approximately 900 people are out in the field and more than 300 people, including our federal, state and local agency partners, are planning and managing the operations in the Command Center.
In the water, we continue to track down the remaining oil above and below the surface and along the shoreline. Today, two skimmers worked offshore to recover the sheen. Several other skimmers are standing by, ready to go into service if needed. Although approximately 10,000 gallons of oily water have been collected since the start, in the last several days, skimmers have collected negligible amounts of oil offshore. Nevertheless, more than 10,000 feet of booms continues to be deployed to capture the sheen and protect the shore. This includes pom-pom type adsorbent material, which collects the sheen. Pom-poms are specifically designed to collect oil but not water. In terms of submerged oil, we have started to implement our pre-approved plan. Tomorrow, experts will use sonar to survey an initial area, roughly a quarter-mile west of the release point to El Capitan. Teams will be working in waters up to approximately 35-feet deep and as close to shore as possible. These results will be assessed from this initial survey area to determine where else to search and where to direct the recovery efforts. Tomorrow, divers will be sent to locations where submerged oil was detected by teams from the University of California Santa Barbara. This initial effort will be used to evaluate the safety and efficiency of the recovery methods. As for the remaining visible oil, much of it is concentrated near the shoreline. As the tides ebb and flow, we will continue to see oil churned up by the wave action. Due to this, we will continue to have teams on the beach to capture any oil that washes up.
On the beach, five expert shoreline cleanup assessment teams are determining the best method to remove the oil, based on where, and in what form, it washes up on shore. Of the 900 workers in the field, 600 are cleaning the beach. Much of this work, however, still includes collecting oiled seaweed and kelp from the shoreline as well as continuing to manually clean oil from the cliff face and large stationary rocks. Yesterday, teams of volunteers helped in these efforts. The volunteers have brought passion to both their training and work and it speaks volumes of this community. All of us at Plains thank you for your dedication and commitment to this effort.
On the bluffs, the area west of the southbound 101, we are awaiting approval from Unified Command to proceed with recovery efforts.
In the culvert zone, we have completed the initial cleanup. We are continuing to re-survey it to determine what additional work is necessary.
Excavation and Release Site Updates and Claims
Source: Patrick Hodgins, Senior Director of Safety & Security, Plains All American Pipeline
We continue to execute the work plan approved by Unified Command and our federal regulators, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, known as PHMSA, to remove the affected pipeline. This morning, we removed the affected section of pipe, under the supervision of PHMSA, a metallurgist approved by PHMSA, and members of the Unified Command. Following the typical procedure, we removed the entire 40-foot affected joint plus approximately five feet on either side of it. The affected piece of pipe was divided into two so it could fit on the trucks and then wrapped to preserve the conditions of the pipe during transport. During this process we used protective measures to capture any oily residue remaining in the pipe. After the removal of the pipe, we began to remove the remaining oiled soil. Once this is complete, we will replace the 50-foot section of pipe. We expect to complete this work tomorrow.
We understand that the community is interested in this effort, however we are not in a position to discuss what the pipe looks like – or anything about the affected piece of pipe – until after the investigation is completed. Doing so would be speculation and inappropriate during an active investigation. We appreciate your understanding.
For those who have questions or who would like to submit a claim, please call 866-753-3619. We are actively addressing claims as they are received. We currently plan to have trained claims processors at a booth at Saturday’s open house at the Elks Lodge.
We regret any impact this unfortunate accidental release has caused and are working diligently to provide relief.