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29,000 Gallon Oil Spill In Hills Northeast Of Ventura County; Contained Before Reaching Ocean

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(Ventura County Fire Department Photo)
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Firefighters help contain oil spill in Prince Barranca

Thousands of gallons of oil leaked from a crude oil pipeline in the hills northeast of Ventura Thursday morning, creating a sticky mess, but emergency crews stopped the oil's flow before it could reach the ocean.

The rumble of huge vacuum trucks echos through Hall Canyon, as crews suck up oil from a huge pool in a rugged barranca. A passerby first reported flow of oil at about 5:30 Thursday morning from Crimson Pipeline’s V-10 line, which moves oil from Ventura County to Los Angeles County. The pipeline was shut down, and Ventura City and County firefighters built berms.

The nearly 30,000 gallons of oil was contained in a debris catch basin, so none of it made it to the ocean. Rich Macklin, with the Ventura County Fire Department, says crews had to use ropes to get into the rugged barranca for cleanup efforts.

Crimson representatives say a problem with a valve caused the spill, and that the spill wasn’t the result of a pipeline break, or rupture. An investigation into the cause of the accident is underway. Crimson owns 1,000 miles of pipelines in Southern California. Because of the rugged terrain, cleanup could take days. An investigation is underway into the cause. No evacuations were necessary.

This was a different pipeline system, and a different owner that the one involved in the massive May, 2015 rupture in Santa Barbara County. The Plains All-American Pipeline accident released more than 140,000 gallons of oil, and took months to clean up from the ocean, and the soil.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.