After three spills at Greka Energy’s facility in Santa Maria since Monday, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department has shut down the facility while it is cleaned up and returned to compliance with regulations.
“Fire personnel on scene have isolated the area and are working with Greka personnel to mitigate the hazard and insure the facility is safe to operate,” County Fire Division Chief Chris Hahn said.
The only operations at the facility are on-going cleanups and the burning of residual gases like hydrogen sulfide.
On Monday, 150 barrels of crude oil were spilled, while the next day 20 barrels of crude oil were spilled. Then, on Thursday, a third spill resulted in one barrel flowing onto the ground and a “dangerous amount” of hydrogen sulfide gas being released. The cause of the spills spill has been identified as being an overheated or over-pressurized heating unit that resulted in the malfunction of a release valve. None of the spills posed any threat to environmentally sensitive area, according to County Fire spokesman Captain Eli Iskow.