Company responsible for O.C. oil spill gets permission to repair pipeline
The operator of the spill of oil in June 2014 in a North County waterway has been issued federal approval to repair a pipeline that officials say is the only means to remove the substance, but it is not clear when that repair might begin and if it is in the best interest of the environment or the wildlife of the area.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told Santa Cruz officials Thursday it is issuing a permit to Kiewit-Kirby Pacific Inc. of Tacoma, Wash., to repair the Alameda Creek pipeline, which officials said had broken in June and was in danger of being breached.
The permit does not cover any replacement of the pipeline, but does give the company 15 days to repair and test the pipeline before it is returned to service.
It is unclear how long it would take before the Alameda Creek pipeline is repaired and ready for the next water supply, which is from the Stanislaus River, the Santa Clara River and the San Joaquin River, if needed.
The estimated cost of repairing the Alameda Creek pipeline is about $200,000.
The permit also is not a final approval for the repair. The Corps said it is issuing it to notify Santa Cruz officials about its progress and to allow them to respond accordingly.
“It is possible that the repair could take another two weeks, and if it does, it could be delayed even longer,” said John Lott, a deputy U.S. trade representative for the Pacific.
It is unclear how long the repair will take, or if it is even necessary to complete. Crews would have to find all the cracks in the pipeline, which extend from the San Francisco Bay Area to San Luis Obispo, and repair them before it is brought back into service.
Santa Cruz officials estimated this year it would take about $2,000 a day to keep the water supply in