The Goleta City Council will receive an update Tuesday on the removal of beach hazards remaining from oil and gas facilities in the Ellwood area.
Extensive oil and gas operations occurred along the Ellwood coastline during the early and mid-20th century. When operations ceased, much of the oil infrastructure was not properly abandoned, resulting in hazards such as protruding wellheads and well casings, wood and steel piles, pipelines, wood beams and structures, according to a staff report.
Tuesday’s update on removal efforts will include the implementation of Senate Bill 44 and a recommendation to confirm an expenditure of as much as $55,000 for hazards removal within the city’s jurisdiction.
Many of the beach hazards only become visible during beach erosion associated with storms. In many cases the structures are within the jurisdiction of the California State Lands Commission.
Removal work has occurred intermittently since the city issued two land use permits to the lands commission for work in 2010.
Removal activities have occurred on at least seven occasions from April 2011 to March 2017, according to a staff report.
In October 2017, Gov. Jerry Brown approved SB 44, which created a legacy oil and gas well and coastal hazard removal and recommendation program. The bill provides $2 million annually for the program through at least fiscal year 2027-2028.
The lands commission hired Cushman Contracting Corp. for a three-year term to remove coastal hazards as they are identified.
From Dec. 18 to Dec. 21 last year, Cushman removed approximately 66 steel H-beams, 36 railroad irons, 28 wooden pilings, and two pipeline pieces along the city’s coastline, according to a staff report.
In February, lands commission staff identified overnight sand scour, exposing buried beach hazards. The lands commission received authorization to proceed with hazards removal for a cost of $55,000 under the city manager’s authority.
The city manager declared a public urgency, allowing the work to be conducted pending council approval despite no bidding procedures.
“Time was of the essence and the purposes of the bidding statute would not have been advanced,” the city staff report reads. “The contractor performing the work was already out in the field completing services for the CSLC. The City displayed no favoritism in the contractor used in not bidding the services. The CSLC contract was already in place and going out to bid would have been extremely impractical and would not have produced cost savings.”
The removal efforts were conducted Feb. 14-18. In total, 150 steel H-piles, 25 wooden piles, four steel round-piles, eight segments of pipe, 16 steel tie-backs and various miscellaneous scrap metal and debris were removed, officials said.
The report will be part of the consent calendar during Tuesday’s meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. in council chambers, 130 Cremona Drive, Suite B.