Quick Work on Oil Slick : Cleanup Crews Move In Fast to Tackle a Small Spill in Huntington Beach


A faulty valve at a Chevron terminal was blamed Monday for a 10-gallon crude oil spill that went into a tributary of Talbert Lake at Central Park, a Fire Department spokesman said.

The valve, located at the terminal next to the park at Gothard Street and Talbert Avenue, allowed about three to five barrels of oil to leak into a pit on Chevron prop- erty last Friday, said Lee Caldwell, Huntington Beach Fire Department oil inspector.

Although the sump was cleaned out Saturday, a second leak of about two barrels of crude oil went into the pit, a holding area mixed with water and oil, according to Chevron spokesman Wally Fassler.

“We think the valve was faulty and leaking slightly,” Fassler said. “Before we could get all the oil from the sump, about 10 gallons of crude went into the south side of the lake.”


The spill was discovered about noon Sunday in a narrow tributary about 150 feet long and 20 feet wide. Booms to contain the spill were set up across the neck of the creek by an environmental cleanup company hired by Chevron.

The crew was there again on Monday and expected to return today, Fassler said.

“They set up several absorbent booms across the long, narrow neck of the lake, preventing any crude from getting into the main lake,” Fassler said.

No waterfowl were threatened Sunday, according to a state Department of Fish and Game spokesman who visited the spill area.


“I did not see any wildfowl affected, but I will make another trip there to make sure all the cleanup is done properly,” said Fish and Game Lt. Angel Raton.

Chevron will remove vegetation along the tributary’s banks that may have been soaked with oil, including willows and tules, Raton said.

The state agency will review how the spill happened before recommending whether to fine the company, he added.

No fine is pending against the company from the city, said Caldwell, who praised Chevron for promptly reporting the spill and calling in a cleanup company.


“There’s absolutely no intentional dumping,” Caldwell said. “They tried very hard and went above and beyond what they needed to do on this spill. . . . I don’t envision any fines time.”