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Multi-agency effort underway to assist with Toro Incident in Santa Barbara Co.

Agencies responded to reports of oil in a creek Sunday
Santa Barbara County
Posted at 4:28 PM, Jan 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-02 19:28:19-05

Multiple agencies are coming together to help manage natural oil seepage occurring in southern Santa Barbara County.

The Santa Barbara County Public Works Department says the Montecito Protection District and Carpinteria Summerland Fire District responded to a report of oil in a creek Sunday around 11:30 a.m. on the 1000 block of Toro Canyon Road.

Multiple neighboring fire departments also responded to assist with protective actions for the Toro Incident including damming and using absorbent pads and booms to help minimize the impact of the oil, officials say.

“The oil is from a natural seepage well built by the Occidental Oil Company in 1882. The Environmental Protection Agency retrofitted the site to prevent seepage in the 1990s by building an oil and water separator facility at the well. The County has monitored that facility since 2009,” according to a press release.

Pacific Petroleum California has been hired to help with cleanup in an effort to reduce the impacts to the community, environment and wildlife, officials say.

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Oiled Wildlife Care Network has also been activated, although there have been no reports of affected wildlife.

A Unified Command has been established between Santa Barbara County, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response to help manage the incident.

The amount of oil released, cause and other impacts is not currently known.