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 29, 2015 at 3 p.m.:
Recovery Effort and Excavation Updates
Source: Rick McMichael, Senior Director of Operations, Plains All American Pipeline
We have close to 1,200 people working on the response across the five zones and in the Command Center. Nearly 930 people are out in the field and more than 250 people, including our federal, state and local agency partners, are planning and managing the operations in the Command Center.
On the water, we continue to track down the remaining oil above and below the surface and along the shoreline; 17 vessels and one barge are involved in recovering the remaining oil on the surface of the water and 10,600 feet of boom continues to be deployed to capture the sheen and protect the shore. Regarding submerged oil, we have begun to survey the affected area. Today, Unified Command divers began their work underwater in selected areas to evaluate our planned recovery methods for submerged oil. Our team also conducted a multi-beam sonar survey and profiled the seafloor in the area our experts have prioritized. The combination of these results and expert knowledge of the local waters will direct our underwater recovery efforts and help determine whether we should expand our search. The support of those who know these waters best has been a great help to our efforts. For the remaining visible oil, much of it remains concentrated near the shoreline. As the tides ebb and flow, we will continue to see oil churned up by the wave action. We will continue to have teams on the beach to capture any oil as it comes to shore.
On the beaches, five teams of recovery experts are conducting shoreline cleanup assessments to determine the best method of removing the oil. Of the 880 workers in the field, approximately 600 are cleaning the beach. They are collecting oiled seaweed and kelp from the shoreline as well as manually cleaning oil from the cliff face and large stationary rocks. We are also evaluating various methods for cleaning the smaller rocks. Additionally, we are extending our beach clean-up activities into Ventura County. Final test results regarding the source of the tar balls that have washed onshore at these beaches are not available. Accordingly, out of an abundance of caution – and because we have the resources to assist in the clean-up of these beaches – our work teams will be cleaning Hollywood, McGrath and San Buenaventura beaches in Ventura County. Until we know more, we will act as if this is related to our incident and commit to do what is necessary to clean Ventura’s beaches.
On the bluffs, the area west of the southbound 101, we are planning test digs so we can evaluate the best way to address this area.
In the culvert zone, we have largely 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
At the release site, we are turning our focus to the berm that runs alongside the starting point of the culvert. We will remove oiled soil and repair the berm as necessary. As for the pipeline, this morning, the affected section of pipe was sent off for further evaluation to an independent laboratory approved by PHMSA. As soon as we finish removing the oiled soil from under the pipe, we will replace the section of pipe. We expect to complete this work tomorrow. In the coming days, we will begin to carry out the steps outlined by PHMSA to empty the pipeline.
While we know the community is interested in this effort, 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.
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.