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Mystery Spill Under Investigation

Rusty Chemical Liquid’ Discovered on a Goleta Beach


An unknown amount of a “rusty chemical liquid” spilled onto the beach earlier this month near the Sandpiper Golf Course and Venoco’s facilities, but what the substance is and where it came from is still being investigated. Kristen Hislop, a Coastal Commission enforcement officer, said the liquid came from a pipe, but who the pipe belongs to remains unclear as is the amount that spilled because much of it was absorbed by the sand. Test results are expected later this week.

Valerie Kushnerov, spokesperson for the City of Goleta, said city officials have spoken with golf-course and Venoco representatives. Kushnerov said the city’s initial queries don’t suggest the spill presents any “imminent” health concerns but that “out of an abundance of caution,” the incident has also been referred to the state’s Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources and the county’s Environmental Health Services division. Officials from County Fire, the Coast Guard, the State Lands Commission, and California Fish & Wildlife are also reportedly involved.

Keith Wenal, a safety manager for Venoco, said the liquid ​— ​which the company believes to be water ​— ​didn’t “originate from Venoco.” A manager for Sandpiper declined to comment.

An earlier, shorter version of this story that appeared briefly online incorrectly attributed the spill as coming from Venoco’s property. The spill occurred between Sandpiper Golf Course and Venoco, and the source of the liquid is still being investigated.

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