Commission announces that the excavation and assessment of the Becker onshore well at Summerland Beach in Santa Barbara County was successful

Assessment is the first step to mitigate the presence of oil at the Beach

(Sacramento) − The California State Lands Commission announced today that the excavation and assessment of the Becker onshore well at Summerland Beach in Santa Barbara County was successful. This is the first step toward capping and remediating the well.

On Wednesday and Thursday (October 28th and 29th), local, state, and federal officials gathered to monitor the work, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response, the California Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, and the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management. A spill containment boom and absorbent pads were on site as well as sheet pile shoring for deep excavation.

“The excavation was incredibly successful,” said Jennifer Lucchesi, Executive Officer of the State Lands Commission. “We will continue to work closely with local, state and federal officials to pursue permanent abandonment of the leaking well.”

The work involved constructing a large perimeter dirt berm seaward of the Becker wellsite to divert ocean waves and to contain any oil seeping out of the sand removed during excavation. Crews worked quickly to excavate the wellsite and identify the Becker Well casing. The successful excavation of the well casing allowed the Commission’s consultant to measure and assess the well casing’s condition and to GPS the location for future remediation opportunities. Information from this work will be used to develop an engineering plan to properly re-abandon the Becker onshore well.

The Becker well was drilled in the late 1800s, predating the creation of the State Lands Commission, regulatory agencies and well record keeping. The well, located in the surf zone, was not abandoned to modern standards and has a history of small but persistent oil leaks. Oil from the leaking well has been seen on the beach and in the ocean off Summerland Beach.

InterAct is the consultant who conducted the excavation and assessment work. InterAct is an international project management, engineering and environmental firm specializing in abandonment and decommissioning services on and offshore.