May 30, 2015 – Line 901 Incident Update

Plains All American Pipeline provided the following update as cleanup operations continued near Goleta, Calif.  This update is attributable to Pat Hodgins, senior director, Safety & Security, Plains All American Pipeline, who is serving as the Plains Incident Commander and its representative within Unified Command.

Plains deeply regrets that this unfortunate accidental incident occurred, and we are sorry for the resulting impact to the environment and wildlife, as well as for any disruption caused to residents and visitors. Plains is committed to doing everything in our power to make this right.

Today, 16 Plains employees participated with members of the Unified Command in a Community Open House in Goleta, Calif., attended by approximately 200 residents. Although Plains has been working alongside representatives of the public during this response and met with representatives of numerous area and national organizations, the Open House provided Plains employees an opportunity to better understand community concerns directly from members of the public impacted by the incident. Along with the rest of the members of Unified Command, Plains will consider the public comments it received today as it plans the remaining response efforts.

More than 1,400 people are working on the response across the five work zones and in the Incident Command Post.  More than 1,100 people are out in the field.  Approximately 290 people, including our federal, state and local agency partners, are managing the operations in the command center.

The following is an update on activity in the work zones since the last report:


  • On the water, we resumed efforts to track down the remaining oil above and below the surface and along the shoreline. 18 vessels and one barge were involved in recovering the remaining oil on the surface of the water. 10,600 feet of booms were deployed to capture the sheen and protect the shore.
  • Regarding submerged oil, we continued to work in the areas near the shore between Refugio State Beach and El Capitan that our experts have prioritized.
  • We are conducting a multi-beam sonar survey and are profiling the seafloor. 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.
  • Today, one of our local experts from the University of California Santa Barbara conducted an overflight assessment of these areas to help direct the underwater search and to better understand the flows of seep oil in the area.
  • Unified Command divers resumed their work underwater in selected areas to evaluate the planned recovery methods.
  • Regarding the remaining visible oil, much of it remains near the shoreline. As the tides ebb and flow, this oil is being churned up by the wave action. We will maintain teams on the beach to capture the oil as it comes to shore.


  • Four teams of recovery experts conducted shoreline cleanup assessments to determine the best methods of removing the oil.
  • More than 800 workers are cleaning the beach. They are collecting oiled seaweed and kelp from the shoreline as well as manually cleaning oil from the large stationary rocks.
  • Unified Command approved the method by which the crews will address the affected cobble stones along a 1,700-foot stretch of Refugio State Beach.
  • Beach cleanup crews will remove and replace the oiled cobbles by hand with 500 cubic feet of new, locally sourced rocks that have the same characteristics of the current cobbles.
  • A survey of the area has been conducted to map the current slope of the beach to ensure it will retain its current form as the rocks are replaced.
  • In Ventura County, Unified Command is still awaiting final test results that should help identify the source of the oily material washing up on shore.  Until we know more, Plains is responding as if this is related to the Refugio incident and commits to do what is necessary to clean Ventura’s beaches.
  • Work teams were dispatched to clean several beaches in Ventura County with reports of oiled materials. They have been asked to avoid areas while the snowy plovers are nesting.


  • In the area west of the southbound 101, we are conducting test digs that would allow us to evaluate the best way to address this area.


  • We have largely completed the initial cleanup and are continuing to re-survey and monitor the area to determine whether additional work is necessary.

Release Site

  • Work resumed on removing the remaining oiled soil from the berm that runs alongside the starting point of the culvert.
  • Regarding the pipeline, we finished removing the oiled soil that was under the affected portion of pipe, and we installed a new section of pipe.


  • 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 regret any impact this unfortunate accidental release has caused and are working diligently to provide relief.