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Wildlife Officers and Volunteers Clean Up Oily Waterfowl

Times Staff Writer

At least 20 ducks and several other waterfowl coated with crude oil from a Monday night spill in Granada Hills have been rescued by wildlife officers and private wildlife groups.

The birds were endangered when about 5,000 gallons of crude spilled in the rupture of a 10-inch Mobil Oil Co. pipeline north of Knollwood Country Club.

The spill prompted Los Angeles City Councilman Hal Bernson to ask Wednesday for a review of city procedures for monitoring pipelines that transport hazardous substances. The city Public Works Department was instructed to report back to the City Council.

Most of the birds were collected from an eight-mile stretch of Bull Creek leading from the source of the spill to the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area, and from a 14-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River from the dam to Dodger Stadium, where cleanup crews headed off most of the spill late Tuesday afternoon.

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Lt. Tim Goffa of the Los Angeles Animal Regulation Department said 17 birds have been cleaned at the city’s West Valley Shelter in Chatsworth. Three were treated Tuesday by State Department of Fish and Game wardens.

Department of Fish and Game spokesman Pat Moore said he did not know how many more waterfowl were captured by state wardens and biologists on Wednesday.

Goffa said the fowl taken to the West Valley Shelter, though coated with oil, were not dying. Birds covered with oil can survive and even fly, Goffa said, but can die if they ingest it.

Department of Fish and Game wardens said only a small part of the oil drifted as far as Long Beach, where booms were set up to prevent it from flowing into the ocean.

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Mobil Oil hired two private firms to clean up the spilled crude, which caused two minor traffic accidents at an intersection just north of where the break occurred.

The cleanup is expected to take a week to 10 days and cost more than $100,000, Fish and Game officials said.

Mobil Oil spokeswoman Linda Agens said corrosion caused the break in the 22-year-old line, which runs from oil fields near Bakersfield to a Torrance refinery.


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