September 25, 2015 – Plains Line 901 Incident Response Update

Plains Line 901 Incident Response Update, September 25, 2015

Plains All American Pipeline provided the following update with respect to the status of the cleanup operations relating to the Line 901 incident that occurred on May 19, 2015 near Refugio State Beach, Calif.

Through the end of August, the response was focused on cleanup and recovery operations, known as “Phase II.” These activities included remediation of the impacted environment surrounding the release site, along the path the oil traveled to the ocean, and along the affected shoreline. In Phase II, response personnel cleaned oiled cobble and other rocks, collected any oil that washed onto the shoreline, gathered any affected wildlife for rehabilitation, replaced affected vegetation, and tested and replaced impacted soils containing traces of oil.

As of the end of August, the Unified Command determined that Phase II recovery operations have been completed, subject to continued active monitoring of a portion of the impacted shoreline by Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT) teams. This effectively marks the end of the Phase II recovery operations and the beginning of the Phase III monitoring activities.

As Phase III begins, teams will continue to survey and monitor from Arroyo Hondo to Rincon Point following the SCAT process to look for buried Line 901 oil or staining that may be uncovered through sand erosion.  The SCAT teams will also collect and test samples periodically and following the first significant storm event, to determine whether any collected oil is from Line 901. If Line 901 oil is found, SCAT teams will deploy the necessary cleanup teams and resources to address it.

With recovery operations completed, most recovery-specific resources and equipment were demobilized in early September.

In addition to the monitoring, work is being conducted to restore areas within Refugio State Beach that were impacted during cleanup efforts.  Additionally, Plains is working with officials to make enhancements to the existing infrastructure and facilities, including road resurfacing, new picnic tables, fire pits, painting and basic repairs.

The following is an update on response activity:


At the beginning of September, 91 people were working on the response. These numbers will decrease as the surveying and monitoring requirements are met, with the potential for brief increases in activity if additional areas with Line 901 oil or staining are found.


  • SCAT experts continue to conduct shoreline cleanup assessments on a bi-weekly basis to direct the deployment of work crews, as needed. The SCAT teams are made up of federal, state, county and third-party scientists trained in assessing shoreline oiling and determining appropriate cleanup methods.


  • Cleanup of the Bluffs area has been completed. Monitoring of vegetation regrowth and irrigation patterns continues.


  • Cleanup in the Culvert area has been completed.

Release Site

  • The pipeline has been repaired and backfill has been completed. The area has been reseeded.

Natural Resources

  • Plains continues to work with state and federal trustees on a cooperative Natural Resource Damage Assessment agreement to assess injuries and related damages to natural resources resulting from the Refugio Incident. A final restoration plan is anticipated to be completed by early 2017.


  • 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.

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