State regulators say oil company was pumping crude through pipeline into storm drain that led to second leak in San Francisco Bay area in less than a year
California officials are investigating a small sheen spotted near a huge slick of crude oil oozing from a busted pipeline in the San Francisco Bay area.
State and federal officials say oil company PG&E was pumping crude through the pipeline into a storm drain on Friday that led to a second leak about 2 miles (3.2km) away in San Bruno.
Sheen may be natural and but does not indicate an oil spill, PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras said.
Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Coast Guard and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said no other signs of oil were spotted.
Another major oil spill in California in recent months highlighted the need for pipeline inspections, Richard Samuels, a spokesman for the US Environmental Protection Agency, said. The pipe was inspected last year by the EPA after a November spill in Alameda that spewed more than 1,000 barrels of oil into the bay.
“Inspections have been tightened for oil in the wake of the last incident,” he said.
The EPA and wildlife officials will determine if there is any danger to wildlife if the sheen turns into an oil slick, Samuels said.
The first sheen was spotted Saturday. Two spill responders were cleaning up at the site, which appeared clean of oil and water, PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras said.
A smaller oil spill occurred in October when a PG&E worker hit a pipe while trying to repair a failure there. Oil leaked into the bay for days and fouled several miles of shoreline.
PG&E said on Friday the company is installing a circuit bypass system to help prevent further leaks. The bypass is expected to be in place by Thursday night.