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NORWALK : Unocal Spill Contained Before Reaching Ocean

March 02, 1995|JOHN POPE

Oil that spread last week from a ruptured Unocal pipeline into the San Gabriel River has been contained before reaching the ocean, officials said.

About 2,000 feet of containment booms were placed along the river to corral the spill, which stretched more than 14 miles from Norwalk to Long Beach, officials said. The cleanup should be finished today, they said.

About 80 birds were coated in the slick, officials said. About 70 birds, mostly coots, were transported this week to the International Bird Rescue center in Berkeley for treatment, said Unocal spokesman Barry Lane.

The 10-inch pipeline was punctured Feb. 20 during work at the site of a future Metrolink station at Imperial Highway and Bloomfield Avenue. About 36,000 gallons gushed from the break.

Most of the oil was contained and cleaned up. But about 4,200 gallons seeped into an underground storm drain that empties into Coyote Creek, a concrete-lined wash that drains into the river.

Unocal and Metrolink officials are investigating the cause. "The pipeline was clearly marked and we'd had discussions with them about it," Unocal's Lane said. "I can't explain why the contractor dug into the pipeline."

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