Malfunctioning equipment at a Greka facility in Santa Maria caused approximately 1,500 barrels of produced water and five barrels of crude oil to spill into surrounding fields Thursday.
Santa Barbara County Fire Dept. officials responding to the accident at the Greka Union Sugar Lease Tank Battery found that a malfunctioning injection pump had caused the spill. Greka contractors were already engaged in cleanup efforts by the time the fire department engine company and hazardous materials specialist arrived at the scene.
County officials issued a stop-work order for the lease effective at 5 p.m. on Thursday, according to a statement released by SB County Fire Dept. spokesman Captain Eli Iskow.
“The order is being issued due to the nature of the failure, the amount of damage to vessels and equipment and the pre-existing conditions at the facility at this time,” Iskow said.
This is the latest is a long series of oil-spill incidents to occur at Greka’s SB County facilities in recent years. According to a publicly commissioned 2008 Greka Energy Oil Facilities Update, the company is responsible for 400 emergency incidents since 1999 — more than the 11 other oil operators in the county combined.