Oil found in California creek traced to well built in 1882

January 4, 2023 GMT

CARPINTERIA, Calif. (AP) — Oil that was discovered last weekend in a Southern California creek has been traced to an oil well dug in 1882, officials said.

A hazmat team responded on New Year’s Day after oil was reported in Toro Creek near Carpinteria, according to the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department.

The crew managed to dam the oil and used absorbent pads and booms to minimize the impact to the creek and local environment, the department said in a statement.

“The oil is from a natural seepage well built by the Occidental Oil Company in 1882,” the statement said. “The Environmental Protection Agency retrofitted the site to prevent seepage in the 1990s by building an oil and water separator facility at the well.”

There were no immediate reports of affected wildlife, the department said.

The amount of oil released and the exact cause remained under investigation, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported Wednesday.