Lael Wageneck, Public Information Officer
Santa Barbara County Public Works Department (805) 568-3425 [email protected]

Steve Gonzalez, Public Information Officer
California Department of Fish and Wildlife/Office of Spill Prevention and Response
(916) 715-9072 [email protected]

Date of Incident: 1/1/23
Incident Name: Toro Incident
Location: 1073 Toro Canyon Rd., Carpinteria, Santa Barbara County
Product details: Natural Oil Seepage

A Unified Command between Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara County Fire Department, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response has been established to manage the Toro Incident.

At 11:30 a.m. on January 1, Montecito Fire Protection District and Carpinteria Summerland Fire District personnel responded to a report of oil in a creek in the 1000 block of Toro Canyon Road. First responders from South Coast Hazmat Response Team (Carpinteria, Montecito, Santa Barbara City, and Santa Barbara County Fire Departments) responded and initiated protective actions that included damming, and the use of absorbent pads and booms to minimize the impact of the oil.

The oil is from a natural seepage well built by the Occidental Oil Company in 1882. The Environmental Protection Agency retrofitted the site to prevent seepage in the 1990s by building an oil and water separator facility at the well. The County has monitored that facility since 2009.

The Toro Incident Unified Command has contracted Pacific Petroleum California for cleanup to reduce the impacts to the community, environment and wildlife. While there are currently no reports of affected wildlife, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Oiled Wildlife Care Network has been activated.

The amount of oil released, impacts, and cause are currently under investigation.