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Seal Beach : Edison Is Fined, Placed on Probation in Oil Spill

Southern California Edison Co. was assessed $3,356 and placed on two years’ probation last week following an oil spill that threatened wildlife in Anaheim Bay last December.

The company, which pleaded no contest to the charges, must now pay $2,000 to a California Fish and Game preservation fund. The remaining fees will go to the state and Orange County for cleanup and administrative costs.

Company officials estimate that between 400 and 1,000 gallons of transformer lubrication oil--a clear, highly refined mineral oil--leaked from the facility into the Bolsa Chica Flood Control Channel when newly installed pump equipment failed. A spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Game said the spill traveled approximately 1.3 miles downstream from the plant and was halted one mile from a wildlife refuge located in upper Anaheim Bay.

A Fish and Game spokesman said the utility “voluntarily complied” in cleanup efforts that cost the company $23,000. Cleanup teams used sheets of absorbent sponge material to mop up the spill.

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Game Warden Darryl Avila said he found several dead or ill shore birds and crayfish along the channel banks following the incident.

An Orange County deputy district attorney said the utility company could be liable for a $2,000 fine above and beyond damages should another spill occur in the two-year probation period. He said as far as he is aware, the county has never filed similar charges against Southern California Edison in Orange County.


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