An estimated 21,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into ocean waters near Refugio State Beach, off Santa Barbara. Oil flowed into the ocean in an area situated in between two state marine conservation areas that contain diverse ecological resources and important historical significance.

Santa Barbara oil spill

On May 19th 2015, a massive oil spill occurred in Santa Barbara, California. This disastrous event quickly became one of the largest oil spills in the state’s history and showcased the immense difficulty of cleaning up oil spills in the ocean.

The Conditions that led to the disaster

The event was caused by an underground pipeline that leaked and spewed oil onto the shoreline. This pipeline had been corroded over the years and was not properly maintained by the company, Plains All American Pipeline. This negligence on their part caused over 100,000 gallons of crude oil to be released into the ocean and onto the beaches.

The Immediate Cleanup Process

In the aftermath of the disaster, urgent action was taken to clean up the spill. The Coast Guard immediately dispatched multiple ships and planes to help with the cleanup process. Booms were also placed in vulnerable areas to prevent the spread of oil. In addition to this, hundreds of volunteers from the local community helped out with the cleanup process.

The Long-Term Implications

Although the immediate cleanup process was successful, the long-term implications of the spill are still being investigated. Initial reports suggest that the oil caused significant harm to the local wildlife and ecosystems. The oil also created a slick on the water, which has proven to be difficult to remove.

The Need for Better Prevention

The Santa Barbara oil spill highlighted the need for better prevention and safety measures when it comes to oil spills. We need to have stricter regulations and oversight on the maintenance of pipelines, as well as more robust emergency response systems. Only then can we ensure that such a disastrous event is not repeated.

Source: Oceana, May 20, 2015

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