[Information up to date as of 11/07/2017]
- On January 9, 2017 a follow-on Coastal Development Permit with Hearing to Plainsí Emergency Permit was approved by the Zoning Administrator. Emergency response and clean-up activities have been completed; biological restoration and monitoring is on-going. Plains Line 901 and 903 stopped operating on May 19, 2017 have remained shut down.
- On May 20, 2015 the Director of Planning and Development gave verbal and email authorization to Plans to conduct emergency response operations and issued an subsequent Emergency Permit on July 3, 2015. Emergency response and cleanup operations were immediately initiated under the direction of a Unified Command led by the USCG and the EPA, in consultation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Plains. Emergency response operations to date have included: excavation of contaminated materials at the spill site and along the coastal bluff top; excavation, removal and repair of the damaged section of pipeline; cleaning of culverts; excavation and repair of four pipeline anomalies located west of the spill site; removal of contaminated sand from beaches; cleaning of rocks and coastal cliffs; and, on-water operations for oil containment and removal.
- On May 19, 2015 Line 901 released an estimated 2,960 barrels of crude oil.
The Plains Pipeline is comprised of two pipeline segments which traverse Santa Barbara County, Line 901 along the Gaviota Coast and Line 903 which extended inland to Kern County. Line 903, a steel 30-inch pipeline, became operation in 1991 with a throughput capacity of 300,000 barrels per day. Line 903 transported crude oil approximately 113.4 miles from the Gaviota Pump Station north to the Sisquoc Pump Station located east of the Santa Maria River, and through the Los Padres National Forest and Cuyama Valley to the Pentland Delivery Point located in Kern County. Line 901, a shorter a 10-mile, 24-inch steel pipeline became operational in 1994 and served to connect the Las Flores Pump Station to Line 903 via the Gaviota Pump Station. The Plains pipeline system was originally constructed with the intent to transport sale quality crude oil from Santa Barbara County to various other pipeline and refineries with the final end destination in Texas.
Plains - All American Relocation Efforts at Gaviota Creek
Within Santa Barbara County, the Plains
Pipeline originates in the Las
Oil & Gas Processing Facility, extends
west to the Gaviota Pump Station and
courses north to the Sisquoc Pump Station,
before turning east past the Hallador
facility and onward into San Luis Obispo
and Kern Counties.
All American Pipeline Map
- 24-inch diameter, 10-mile long coastal branch
- Transports oil from the Las Flores Canyon Processing Facility
to the main All American Pipeline system at Gaviota
- 150,000 barrel
per day design capacity
- 30-inch diameter, 130-mile-long mainline
- Pump stations at three locations
in Santa Barbara County
- Las Flores Pump Station
- Gaviota Pump Station
- Sisquoc Pump Station
- Pipeline Isolation Block Valves/Remote
Terminal Units at five locations in
Santa Barbara County. Valves and RTU's
communicate with Plains remote operator
control room and allow the valves to
be closed at sensitive habitat locations
should an oil flow anomaly be detected
- Refugio Creek
- Gaviota Creek
- Santa Ynez River
- Sisquoc River
- Cuyama River
- From Sisquoc Pump Station to the Santa
Maria Refinery or the Pentland
Pump Station in Kern County.
- From Pentland Pump Station to other
pipeline systems and on to Bakersfield,
Los Angeles, or San Francisco
- In 2016 the County issued zoning clearances for anomaly digs along Line 901 and 903.
- In 2015 the County issued zoning clearances for anomaly digs along Line 901 and 903.
- A Supplemental Site Assessment Report was completed in May 2012 (a Soil Sampling Site Assessment Report was completed in August 2010), which included the Plains Pipeline site as well as areas owned by adjacent operators, Gaviota Terminal Company and ARCO Alegria. This information will be used to determine the extent of site contamination for development of a site remedial action plan for all three company sites. Once a remedial plan is identified, additional environmental review will be conducted and the Demolition and Restoration (D&R) permit issued for the Plains Pipeline.
- November 2011, more than 12 truckloads of organic topsoil were delivered and spread in a layer more than six inches deep. Additionally, hydroseeding was completed over the entire area affected by recent remedial activities.
- October 2011, removal of all pumps, piping, electrical connections, foundations and other ancillary equipment was completed at the site.
- In March 2008, Plains Pipeline received County Permits to perform two anomaly digs on coastal and inland sections of their 24-inch diameter oil pipeline. Plains also received approval in April 2008 to perform 11 additional anomaly digs on coastal and inland sections of their 24-inch diameter oil pipeline, under a Repair and Maintenance Permit Exemption to investigate the need for pipeline repairs. Depending upon the inspection results, certain portions of the oil pipeline will be repaired, replaced or left in place. The anomaly investigations began in early August 2008.
- In January 2006, the Director of Planning & Development issued Plains Pipeline, L.P. a Demolition and Reclamation Permit to remove its Gaviota Booster Pump Station. This pump station is located on the Gaviota Terminal facility. Prior to decommissioning of the facility, the pump station served to pump crude oil stored at the Gaviota Terminal to the Plains Gaviota Pump Station on the north side of Highway 101 for pipeline transportation to refinery destinations.
- The County approved a change in
ownership of the Plains Pipeline on
June 3, 2003. The action transfered
ownership from All American Pipeline
Company (a corporation) to Plains Pipeline,
L.P. (a limited partnership).
- Plains project's revegetation bond
has been reduced due to the company's
success in restoring grassland, shrubland,
and riparian areas along the pipeline's
70-mile right-of-way. The Energy Division
will continue to work with Plains to
develop restoration approaches for
areas of the pipeline project where
impacts to habitat are still visible.
- Plains is proceeding with the operation
of pipeline monitoring wells at its
three active pipeline pump stations
within Santa Barbara County:
- Gaviota Pump Station
- Las Flores Canyon Pump Station,
- Sisquoc Pump Station
These monitoring wells aid in the
detection of oil spills.
Monitoring wells at the Gaviota Pump
Station and the Gaviota Booster
Station were installed in October
2001, while wells at the Sisquoc
Pump Station and the Las Flores Canyon
Pump Station were installed in January
2002 following the County's approval
of the project.
- Plains tests each monitoring well
weekly, by inserting a probe that measures
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
An increase in VOC levels may be an
indication of an underground pipeline
- The Planning Commission approved
Santa Barbara County's portion of
the Plains Pipeline project in 1985
citing the environmental benefits of
crude oil transport via pipeline.
- Construction of the 30-inch-diameter
mainline, extending from Gaviota to
McCamey, Texas, began in 1986.
- Construction of pump stations and
pipeline components continued for
- Pipeline operations began on June
28, 1991. Infrastructure additions
to the pipeline included:
- Construction of the 24-inch
diameter coastal segment linking
Exxon's Las Flores Canyon processing
facility with the Plains mainline
at Gaviota in 1990.
- Construction of the Las Flores
Canyon Pump Station in 1994.
- Since operations began in 1991,
there have been only four minor spills
from the Plains Pipeline System. These
spills occurred at pump stations and
were completely contained.
- An underground pipeline flange leak
occurred in March 2000 at the Sisquoc
Pump Station spilling an estimated
47 barrels of crude oil before being
detected at the surface. Spill cleanup
required removal of approximately
150 cubic yards of contaminated soil.
- Plains Pipeline once transported
oil to McCamey, Texas for distribution
to facilities in west Texas, the Gulf
States, and the Midwest; however, that
segment of the pipeline between Emidio,
California and McCamey, Texas was idled
and subsequently sold in the late 1990s
to El Paso Natural Gas Company.
- In September 2005, Plains conducted
annual visual inspections of the Santa
Ynez, Sisquoc and Cuyama River pipeline
crossings, pursuant to Final Development
Plan Condition E-2. The inspections revealed
no channel degradation or conditions
that could potentially reduce the cover
over the pipeline at these crossings.
The plan was review by the County’s
Environmental Quality Assurance Program
monitor and recommendations were made.