The investigation into a dumping incident on South Mountain Road has been completed. According to the Ventura County Environmental Health Division it was an accidental release of non hazardous mud over the cliff. A concerned resident had contacted CFROG with a report and photographs of the spill from the top of a steep hillside along South Mountain Road in Santa Paula, within an active oil field. David Wadsworth with the county tells CFROG the oil company, CRC, is drilling a new well and hired the Nor-Cal company to do some hydro-excavating where pressurized water is fired into the ground and the mud is vacuumed into a tanker. The tanker took the mud down to another location where it was supposed to be deposited on the ground so it could dry and be used to build a containment berm around the new well. Instead, the driver got too close to the edge and all 12 cubic yards of material went down hill. Both the Division of Oil,Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) and Fish & Wildlife also investigated.
Photo 1 : taken Aug. 23, 2018. Looking down to South Mountain Road,
showing path of "sludge" flow .
Photo 2: taken Aug. 23, 2018. Spot at top of hillside, showing more than one vehicle trip in and out of location.
Map created by the concerned resident and shared with CFROG. Red "X" (labeled "Tower of Mordor") is the site of the oil well with tall pump. The green area is where the mud was deposited and flowed down the hillside to South Mountain Road.
CFROG submitted this information to the Ventura Office of the California State Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), our state regulatory office, as well as the directors of Ventura County Environmental Health and Ventura County Watershed Protection District.
CFROG is watching, reporting and ensuring our local agencies tasked with oversight do their job and we thank them for a prompt investigation.