10,000 gallons of oil spill on Los Angeles streets

Environmental cleaning crews work to sop up mess after high-pressure pipe burst
Associated Press
May 15, 2014


A geyser of oil sprayed onto buildings and puddled in knee-high pools of crude in Los Angeles streets after a valve on a high-pressure pipeline failed early Thursday.

About 10,000 gallons of oil spewed 20 feet high over approximately half a mile of the industrial area of Atwater Village at about 12:15 a.m., said Fire Capt. Jaime Moore.

Four commercial businesses near the border of Glendale were affected, as well as a strip club that was evacuated after oil came through air vents. The parking lot was closed and patrons and employees were forced to leave behind their crude-coated cars.

Crews were able to remotely shut off the 20-inch line after about 45 minutes.

"Inspectors went right to the failed valve. They knew right away where the problem originated," said Moore. Determining exactly what caused the failure would take some time, he said.

Four people at a medical business a half-block away were evaluated with respiratory complaints, and two people were transferred to a hospital in stable condition, Moore said.

Quick-thinking workers used sand from a nearby concrete company to build a makeshift dyke.

"They created a pool and were able to hem in much of the oil," Moore said.

By dawn, an environmental cleaning company had vacuumed up most of the mess. Crews put down absorbent material to sop up the remaining crude and then used high-pressure hoses to wash the streets with a soap solution.

Firefighters and hazardous materials crews responded, along with representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies. Several roads were shut down and were expected to remain closed for much of the day.

Officials previously said 50,000 gallons had spilled, but that number was revised downward after the vacuuming began.

Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott said there was no "visible evidence" that the oil entered storm drains, which empty into the Los Angeles River. But he said it's possible that some oil seeped under manhole covers.

The valve failed at a transfer pumping station along a pipeline that runs from Bakersfield to Texas, Moore said.

The company that runs the line, Plains All American Pipeline, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


The Big Dog's back

Was this a windmill or solar panel?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Nothing nearly as wasteful or inefficient. Seems the article said it was crude oil. Just what can be done with crude oil in the refinement process? Let's look at all the horrible waste and uses it makes:

On average, 44.4% of petroleum becomes gasoline. There really are no waste products from petroleum. The lighter chemicals are natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), jet fuel, and kerosene. The heavier products are used for the manufacture of lubricants, plastics, and asphalt. In addition, many less valuable products can be chemically converted into more salable compounds.

Read more: http://www.madehow.com/Volume-2/...

Or, if you'd prefer it from an official government source:

Petroleum products include transportation fuels, fuel oils for heating and electricity generation, asphalt and road oil, and the feedstocks used to make chemicals, plastics, and synthetic materials found in nearly everything we use today. About 75% of the 6.79 billion barrels of petroleum that we used in 2012 were gasoline, heating oil/diesel fuel, and jet fuel

Petroleum products and their relative share of total U.S. petroleum consumption in 2012: http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/fa...

Gasoline 47%
Heating Oil/Diesel Fuel 20%
Jet Fuel (Kerosene) 8%
Propane/Propylene 6%
NGL & LRG1 6%
Still Gas 4%
Petrochemical Feedstocks 2%
Petroleum Coke 2%
Residual/Heavy Fuel Oil 2%
Asphalt and Road Oil 2%
Lubricants 1%
Miscellaneous Products 0.4%
Other Liquids 0.4%
Aviation Gasoline 0.1%
Special Naphthas 0.04%
Waxes 0.04%
Kerosene 0.02%

Now while what happened sure is a shame and surely an inconvenience for the people and businesses (I admitted I chuckled at the aside about the strip club), I have no doubts that the company responsible for the blown valve will either step up on their own and/or have governing agencies impose corrective measures/penalties on them to ensure it doesn't happen again.


So, Mr. Hero , no crude oil was lost ? and there was no mess ?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I didn't indicate that at all and would be foolish to try and do so. The article itself stated about 10,000 gallons was lost and there was a mess (hence my comments at the end). My response was a counterpoint to Big Dog's implications against oil as an energy source in general. The point was to show that more than just energy is taken from the contents of the spill. In fact all the things on the list were "lost" with that oil including the money that will have to be paid by the company to take care of the mess.

EDIT to match yours: I can only wish I was a Mr. Hero, they make some tasty sandwiches. Though my replies to Big Dog and you were certainly "Prepared fresh for you!", heh.


I would also expect over 90% of the oil will be reclaimed. There have been many such spills (since oil has been pumped for well over 100 years it is not the first time a spill has happened) and most, on land, reclaim well over 95% when it is crude and thick as hell. It doesn't get absorbed well nor easily. It makes a mess till it is cleaned up. The companies (or their insurance if not self insured) pay for the cleanup, damage, and inconveince. Since it was in a city, I expect it was localized (corraled, or dammed up) rather quickly.

Licorice Schtick

There is no good reason to minimize this mess. You pull 90% out of the air, but even if only 10% goes unreclaimed, that's 1000 gallons of pollutant capable of causing widespread incremental long-term damage. Even tiny amounts of pollutant can make acres of groundwater toxic and unusable. It all adds up, and it's the sum of these insults to that's so harmful to us and to nature, now and for future generations.


Yep ! There's a lot of pollution and damage that goes with spilled oil versus wind and solar.


I see you have never spilled anything. The last 10% is scooped up and sent ot a gov't sanctioned hazzardous waste facility. The state an federal EPA comes out and inspects the job. You trust the gov't to follow its own regulations, don't you? They have been doing this for decades. Now if you don't believe that the federal regulators or regulations are good enough why are you not protesting the current regulators and regulations? It is your federal gov't doing its job.

Licorice Schtick

Auto companies bought Ballard's automotive fuel cell technology. In seven years, not much has emerged. It would be convenient to just to shelve a threat to the petro technology they're so invested in.


Ballard Power Systems, Inc. is a publicly traded co.


Put your money where your mouth is.

Delay does not equal conspiracy.

JMOP's picture

So in other words Hero, we need petroleum in order to make, manufacture and distribute windmills and solar panels?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

And to provide power on those super rare occasions the sun doesn't shine and wind doesn't blow.

JMOP's picture

That's what I thought. :)

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Now if we're talking Dyson spheres that's not too much of a problem! However until we are able to construct such superstructures (or I'd settle for a Dyson ring) we are dedicating massive acreage to intermittent power production even with thermal salts: http://www.technologyreview.com/...

This also doesn't take into consideration how much heat/light these massive structures put back into the atmosphere above them especially as "global warming" is the distribution of infrared spectrum over the various components of our atmosphere. The beams used in the power plant above are, as the non-right-wingnut Huffington Post reports, 1,000 degrees and burning birds that fly over in mid flight.


Nothing comes without cost, no effect without cause.


Thanks for the information. As I read your comment my question was "why doesn't the AP (and the rest of the so-called mainstream media) provide this type of background information in their reporting. Instead of devoting paragraph after paragraph to pushing a political agenda or interviewing crying witnesses, how about actually furnishing some useful facts? Of course this would require that their writers and editors actually do some hard-core research; something that is apparently no longer taught in journalism school.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Well I can't attest to journalistic standards and practices, but I can certainly think of several answers from a marketing perspective. But yes, there is a woeful lack of understanding about a great many things that if people just took a bit of time to look into the answers would manifest in organic, non-partisan ways. I'm not a petrochemical engineer by education nor trade but after spending a few minutes looking around we can see "the rest of the story" about this supposedly vile substance.

EDIT: There is more I have to add here but had to reduce it down due to spam filter triggering. So stay tuned as I can squeak it in here.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

A great many things can be learned, too, by participating in these forums as there is a host of people from all walks of life. Especially when they speak from personal experience or actually bother to cite their sources. As grumpy said, this may not be as big a "waste" as thought due to oil recovery. As I followed up elsewhere, anything that recovery misses will be naturally broken down/biodegraded by the same forces that take care of the constant oceanic seeps:

"There is effectively an oil spill every day at Coal Oil Point (COP), the natural seeps off Santa Barbara where 20 to 25 TONS OF OIL have leaked from the seafloor EACH DAY for the last SEVERAL HUNDRED THOUSAND YEARS. The oil from natural seeps and from man-made spills are both formed from the decay of buried fossil remains that are transformed over millions of years through exposure to heat and pressure."

Emphasis by me, but the article is here: (Google "livescience" and "oil seeps", spam filter keeping me from posting)

I'm not advocating we just spread crude over the surface of the planet like Nutella on toast (mmmm...), but some context to all of this is necessary to take in the full scope of what's out there, being done with it, and being done about it. Just remember the qualifier in the phrase "manmade global cooling/warming/climate change/distrubance" - manmade. So since man is causing it, what are we doing to reduce the actual cause? The CO2/water vapor isn't happening on its own so don't you find it disingenuous that those who call what's going on as manmade aren't also offering solutions to thin the herd? As "Swiftian" as it sounds, am I incorrect? (By the by, Bizness and I had a good conversation about it here and I wish more held opinions similar to his)

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Removed as I could reformat the above to get around spam filter.


I asked the foolish questions just because you " went off" so defensively for oil - like you owned an oil well or had a lot of stock in oil.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

No, not directly anyway. Big Dog and I share a special bond that allows for many extra educational opportunities to arise from his comments. I could have just said "lol" in reply but figured we all could learn something new about this misunderstood and much-vilified substance.

Licorice Schtick

Conservatives can be counted on to jump in to counter anything that might imply that sustainable energy might be a good idea, because they're proponents of the party line, petroenergy status quo. HeroZone's a bit hypocitical in that he denies that's what he's doing.


It seems Obama and Hillary like that oil money. http://www.factcheck.org/2008/03...

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I was perfectly truthful when it comes to the context I share with Big Dog, the usual amount of "blathering" that I do, and the fact that I pointed out something for many people to read and learn thus creating conversational points. I'm pretty sure there is no hidden agenda in there just as I'm sure wind power contains no other uses for humanity such as road material, plastics, fuels, etc. which makes this loss of fuel (if it isn't recovered as grumpy says it may) actually more of a tragedy than just an ecological one, and on that point you'll notice I didn't deny one bit. In fact if a line like that exploded downtown it'd be pretty darn inconvenient. Which is why the company involved will pay to have remediation on such things.

But here, in case you think I am some kind of cartoonish Captain Planet villain you can be rest assured that anything spilled here not cleaned by man will be cleaned by nature as crude oil is not an unnatrual product: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mic...


Most oil stocks are considered "blue chip" or widows and orphans stocks since many trust funds, from life insurance plans are invested in them, and many such are widows and/or orphans. It is a 7% or 8% dividend. They always make just about that every year, year after year. That is their profit year after year, no matter the price of gasoline, or the price per barrel of crude. It is one of the most regulated business sectors in the country and world.


I visited a hydro plant in Colorado that produces not net electricity. During the day when power prices are peaked, it runs it's two turbines from an uphill resevoir. That allows about 10 hours of power production. During the night when there is excess power from river units, etc., they run the turbines and generators in reverse as powered pumps to refill the uphill reservoir for the next day. No net power produced, this facility is really just a large battery or power reservoir for peak periods of need.
So what do we do when the wind don't blow or sun don't shine? We use the large batteries engineered into the system. Many things are possible even if the dividend bean counters don't like the numbers.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I believe that some places use flywheels, too.

Really are you ...

It can't happen here. Well not yet. They haven't got the pipeline started yet.

Licorice Schtick

Um...Ohio is a spider web of oil and gas pipelines.



I have no problem with any alternative energy being used by anyone who wishes to use or improve it. Nor do I know of anyone who would, but I don't know folks in the oil business. If alternative energy gets to where it is cheaper to use than petrolieum products I will use it. At its present state it is cost prohibitive to use where I live. I believe that alternative energy should get the same subsidies that oil companies get... The ability to write off depreciation of equipment, same as every other company in the US. They do have ability already so I usually don't bother to mention it. Every company in the US can write off equipment depreciation.


I always wonder how much the folks who push solar and wind power have invested or donated directly to those companies developing solar and wind power. If they so believe in those things, do they either invest in or simply write a check to help them do their R&D or are they just mouthing words and not putting their money where their strong beliefs are? Bet I won't get many who have actually invested in their so-called "strong" beliefs. They expect others to pay for R&D.

Really are you ...

I am not seeking outside funding for R&D. I am seeking to perfect my endeavor on my own. So when I bring it forward, it will be performing exactly as I have been saying all along. After watching "America's Book Of Secrets: The Billionaire Agenda," not much has made me more upset. Everyone thinks they have all of the answers, but everyone below the people running this Billionaire Agenda are mere puppets. These people are controlling the strings that run our government. These people are the ones behind the financial depression, class separation, we currently are facing right now. The money made by these people's employees, these billionaires make in just minutes. How fair is that? These billionaires are laughing at the American people. They received almost all of the bailout money, and are safeguarding their billionaire status with tax loopholes... I want to give the "american people" the ability to power their own electrical needs. This goes against their Agenda. Life changing products ideas and inventions are coming from these people's organizations only because they are letting us have them.


I wonder which is more likely... That you actually have invented something.... or that you are sitting in your Mom's basement with a tin foil hat on your head? The more you speak of your "invention" and more you comment about conspiercy theories the more the odds (and I do mean odd) change.