By William Justin, Daily Nexus, February 2, 1977
A Goleta oil storage tank which leaked 1,000 barrels of crude oil near the University Village Golf Course, has been drained and is awaiting repair. The leak, discovered by County firemen last Monday , filled a 100 yard by 100 yard catch basin.
The Goleta Fire Department found the spillage when responding to a caller who believed there was a large gas leak in Isla Vista. The sulfurous odor from the oil continued to linger at least until the end of the week.
The 80,000 barrel tank, located southwest of Storke married student housing and the golf course, sprang a yard-wide hole in a seam near its base. The oil which remained in the tank was unloaded Monday night and Tuesday morning into an ARCO tanker which was diverted from its course to San Francisco. The tanker was 75 miles north of Goleta when notified on Monday.
Aminoil USA, Inc., owners of the tank, began draining the oil lake into another storage tank on Tuesday. By Thursday, most of the spilled oil was removed, Aminoil officials said. It was not yet determined, however, if the earth floor of the catch basin would have to be dug up and replaced.
County air pollution control officials said that unless there was sufficient water in the basin to prevent the oil from being absorbed into the ground, the oil-soaked earth would give off a noxious odor when heated by the sun.
Aminoil, whose corporate offices are in Huntington Beach, owns and operates two 80,000 barrel storage tanks in their Goleta facility. The tanks are used to hold oil which has been pumped from platform Holly and then purged of water by the ARCO processing plant in Bell Canyon. As a result of the spill, operations were suspended at both platform Holly and the ARCO facility.
As of last Thursday, the cause of the leak was still not determined. But, some reports indicate that the tank, built in 1929, had succumbed to age. Repairs have been estimated up to $250,000 and it may take up to eight weeks to complete.
Meanwhile, the undamaged tank will continue to be used. But with only one storage tank in operation, tankers will have to go to the Aminoil installation site twice as often to remove the crude oil.
Aminoil had requested permission from the Santa Barbara Planning Commission to build a new facility 4.5 miles to the west, but was denied a permit. The Planning Commission, viewing tanker transportation of crude oil as an environmental menace, apparently preferred to see construction of a large oil pipeline.