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Gaviota Terminal Abandonment - Project Chronology

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  • Site Assessment Report prepared for the GTC Site

A Soil Sampling Site Assessment Report dated August 30, 2010 was submitted to the County.  Upon review of the report, it was determined that additional soil and groundwater sampling is necessary to fully identify the vertical and lateral extent of site contamination.  The August 30 report did identify that the primary contaminant constituent at the site is petroleum hydrocarbons, an expected finding due to the site’s 100 year history serving oil and gas operations.  Shell’s consultant URS is preparing a supplemental Site Assessment Plan and once approvals are gained from the County, will return to the site in the first quarter of 2011 to resume sampling.  Once the sampling is complete, URS will begin preparing its recommendations for site restoration.

Historical Gaviota Coast Alcatraz Oil Facility 1941

  • Soil Sampling Progress at GTC Site

    Soil sampling at the GTC site continues despite the numerous rain events that have drenched the Gaviota Coast.  In early February, nearly two inches of rain fell at the site over a 12 hour period.  The plumbing that serves the tank farm containment dikes is functioning adequately, allowing controlled drainage of these areas into Alcatraz Creek.   The County’s environmental monitor periodically inspects the site and has observed no indications of petroleum contamination or and evidence of significant sediment transport into the drainage..


  • Soil Sampling Progress at GTC Site

Soil sampling progress at the GTC site continues, with some minor delays caused by the recent heavy rains.  Despite the rainfall amounts, the site is in good shape, with little standing water anywhere and erosion minimized through onsite controls.  The project consultant URS estimates that approximately 50% of the total number of sample cores have been completed, with 120 taken so far.  Soil sampling is scheduled to be completed by mid-March, weather permitting.  A site characterization report will then be prepared and may be completed by June 2010.


The below image is a pipe that transports ponded water in the tank farm area to Alcatraz Creek.   Some minor leaks were observed and the pipe was temporarily patched in six necessary locations.  Inspection of the area under the patched holes showed no signs of having produced significant erosion on the hillside.  The transported water is tested for contamination before it is released into Alcatraz Creek.


  • Soil Sampling Continues at GTC Site

Soil sampling continues at the GTC site in early January while some areas are drained of surface water from recent rains.  Two small excavations (2' X 2') were made by hand near the location of Tank #51.  The pits had provided pump access and adequate drainage for the surrounding ground. 


Water was also pumped (with no excavation) from the surface in the location of Tank #63.  Water from both these pumping operations flowed to the drain area in the containment dike for #63, where it will be allowed to stand for a day in order to permit settling of any sediment.  


  • Soil sampling commenced

Soil sampling at the GTC site commenced in December.  The plan is to identify the types of contaminants, their concentrations and locations throughout the site in order to develop a remediation strategy.  Progress on site sampling has occasionally been impeded due to the winter rains.  Weather permitting, sampling should be completed by late winter.


Site Sampling Delayed

The Energy Division field monitor made a site visit on December 8 and made the following images.  A storm event had dropped about 1.5 inches of rain over the area in the previous 12 hours.  A few inches of water had accumulated in the containment areas where Tanks 51, 52, 62, 63 were previously sited.  Where areas were covered with plastic, the cover was in tact.  No visual evidence of any petroleum contamination on the surface of any water at the site was observed.



On December 23, the Energy field monitor reported that drilling of test cores appears to be proceeding at about the anticipated pace of four to five holes per day, with a total of 26 holes drilled as of that date.  All holes drilled so far have been located in the main facilities area.  Cores on the pads of the tanks near the entrance and in the tank farm to the east of the facilities area are scheduled for later in the work sequence.

Nearly all standing water captured by the tank dikes during recent rains has now been bled off through drainage pipes into Alcatraz Creek without negative impacts to that environment.  Release of water was regulated so as to place minimal demands on drainage system capacity.  Water still puddles in many places within the dikes where slightly lower terrain causes it to collect.  Shell staff intends to employ pumps to lift water the few inches necessary for complete drainage.  Shell staff plans to resume site sampling soon after January 5, 2010 following a holiday haiatus.




GTC facility fades into history

As of September 22, looking east through the GTC site presents a wide open vista with only a few scraps of material awaiting stockpiling and offsite disposal.  Any area that has been subject to demolition activities is being prepared for storm water and erosion control in anticipation of possible winter storms.


Facility demolition nears completion

As of September 17, much of the facility has been dismantled and trasnported offsite for recycling or disposal.  The contractor has estimated that most of the major work will be completed by the end of next week, barring any unforseen complications.  A few days of the following week may be needed to perform final clean-ups.

Soil stained areas of Tank 63 have been recovered and reinforced.

Tanks 51 and 52 have nearly been demolished.

Tanks 53 and 55, along with the associated above-ground pipe located nearby, are nearly complete as well, with only removal of stacked steel remaining to be done.

The small tank located to the south of 54, designated as a water tank was demolished earlier in the week.  Evidence of crude oil leakage was detected under the center of the floor.  Shell/Contractors indicate they will be covering this area with plastic and sand bags as soon as possible.

Tank 63 disappears from the horizon

As of August 25, Tank 63 has disappeared from the horizon.  Only the tank's concrete containment footing and central steel suction drain remain in place.  Most of the steel elements have now been removed from the tank and exported from the site.  Nearly all of the foam debris that has been shed in the process has now either been removed into covered bins or is neatly stockpiled ready for loading and removal.  Several patches of petroleum contaminated soil were encountered during removal of the tank's steel floor.  Those areas will be covered consistent with County requirements and be addressed during the subsequent site remediation process.  Demolition of Tank 62 is also well underway.


Facility demolition progresses according to schedule

Tank 63 has all but disappeared from the horizon.  Most of the steel elements have now been removed from the tank and exported from the site.  Nearly all of the foam debris that has been shed in the process has now either been removed into covered bins or is neatly stockpiled ready for loading and removal.  Contractor representitives estimate that Tank 63 might be completely removed by the end of the week of August 16th.  Demolition of Tank 62 is also well underway.  

Gaviota Terminal Abandonment Progresses

August 6, 2009 - Progress continues on facility demolition

Demolition crews continue tearing down Tank 63.  Much of the structural steel that once made up the floating and external roofs has been cut away and transported to a recycling facility.  The foam coating that was earlier beyond the reach of ground equipment has been removed.  Foam has largely been removed from the other storage tanks on site up to the level reachable by the contractor's equipment.  The demolition contractor plans to soon mobilize additional demolition equipment on site and begin simultaneous demo of other features that now stand ready for removal.

GTC Demolition
GTC Demoliton
GTC Demolition
GTC Demolition

July 29, 2009 - Demolition continues at the GTC terminal

Substantial demolition work has taken place to date.  Tanks 62 and 63 have been scraped clean of foam insulation up to about 50 feet (the limit of the reach of scraping equipment).  Foam removal of Tank 51 is underway.  A large entry panel was cut out of Tank 63 using torches, and an excavator equipped with a cutting shear now chews it's way methodically through panels of side wall, roof and floating roof elements.  Subcontractors licensed to handle asbestos contamination were at work dismantling and cleaning contaminants from the pump building located in the main facilities area.  See the following photos of the progress made.  The map shows the location of the facilities referenced in the text.  

GTC Tank Demolition

GTC Tank Demolition

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July 24, 2009 - Tank demolition begins at the GTC Terminal

Tank demolition began on July 21 and is expected to take from ten to twelve weeks to complete.  In addition to the tanks, other above ground structures will also be removed including piping, pumps, a vapor recovery system and buildings. The following photos show first day activities.  The foam insulation is being scraped from the oil tanks in preparation of cutting the steel into manageable pieces for transportation to a recycling facility.  Steel cutting is scheduled to begin the week of July 26.

Scraping Foam Insulation

Finshed scaping

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