After a 7,000 gallon oil spill and a resulting temporary shutdown of one of their facilities less than a month ago, Greka Energy Company was at it again yesterday with three separate incidents – including a 33,600 gallon spill of crude oil into a creek just outside of Los Alamos. According to Santa Barbara County Fire Department officials, a 9-1-1 call was placed early in the morning on Friday, December 7 after a passerby near the Greka Oil Palmer Road facility noticed oil flowing into a dry creek bed, its slick stretching nearly a half-mile downstream. As is often the case with Greka’s numerous spills, faulty equipment is to blame for Friday’s 800 barrel debacle. According to County Fire, an aged pump malfunctioned, causing a holding container to overflow. Further compounding the problem, an alarm system designed to alert Greka officials of such breakdowns also failed, allowing the environment-damaging oil to flow unchecked for some time. A seasonal tributary to the Sisquoc River, it is unknown whether any birds or animals were harmed in the spill.
Earlier in the day, County Fire responded to reports of large smoke clouds above a Greka facility on Zaca Station Road, though no gases are believed to have been released. In the third and final incident of the day, while crews were working to clean up the oil spill, yet another pump failed and an unknown amount of processed water spilled into the creek.
Currently, the Greka Facility has been ordered to shut down operations pending investigation. Meanwhile, California Fish and Game has been called in to help oversee clean up.