If all goes according to plan, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expects to complete its clean-up operations Friday afternoon, May 23, at Greka Energy’s Bell Lease site, the location of two separate large scale oil spills in recent months. After Greka failed to meet certain procedural clean-up requirements stemming from its December 7 and January 29 spills at the Palmer Road facility just north of Los Alamos, the EPA took control on April 1 and, to date, about 5,000 cubic yards of polluted soil have been removed from the area. Along with contaminated soil cleanup, the EPA, working with California Fish and Game crews, has restored portions of the nearby creek that were damaged during the soil extraction. This is in order to prevent erosion in the months to come.
On December 7, 2007, an injection pump failure at the Bell site resulted in more than 86,000 gallons of crude oil spillage. A rusted-out underground pipe at the same facility was to blame for January 29, 2008 incident that resulted in more than 10,000 gallons of pollution leaking into the environment. Greka is required to foot the bill for the EPA run cleanup, which is expected to cost around $1.5 million. Additionally, though it is still months away from being resolved, Greka faces potential EPA fines adding up to tens of thousands of dollars for the aforementioned spills and several others in the past six months.
EPA run clean-up operations at Zaca Station, the site of a January 5 mishap that precipitated more than 200,000 gallons of oil and produced-water leak, are still underway.