Duquesne is Done!

Duquesne is Done! title=
Before/During (Sunday/Monday) [Photo by Harry Rabin/On the Wave Productions ]
Reads 2720

After (All photos by Harry Rabin/On the Wave Productions)

Duquesne, the Summerland Beach oil well that has been tackled by the State Lands Commission this past week (12/2-12/7) is DONE!

And what a mess it was! We owe a big thanks to the SLC engineers, Interact/Acteon contractors, and the oil cleanup team from Patriot Environmental for collaborating day and night with big, heavy equipment during King Tide conditions, with buckets and shovels and other gear, to expose, clean, and cap a prolific leaking wellhead buried under 4 feet of sand.

The Duquesne well, located at the southeast end of Summerland beach, had a big surprise in store when it was discovered to be leaking a far greater amount of oil than originally estimated. A large containment area was required to be dug up to hold all the oil and saltwater mix so the oil could be safely skimmed off the top. It looked like a black swimming pool in the ground, a ghastly sight under the bright night lights used to illuminate the scene:

Heal the Ocean Field advisor Harry Rabin was on the job morning to night, strategizing with the engineers about containment – nobody wanted to see any of this black pool escape into the ocean. In the end, some oil did escape, and there was a sheen on the beach, as there has been with previous well excavations and capping operations. This morning (Tuesday, December 7), Harry and the Patriot crew headed down there in ATVs to check the area for signs of oil, then later recorded an aerial survey for SLC. The sheen was minimal and most importantly there was no heavy oil or tarballs found. The quick response to the breach in the containment area helped to minimize the damage to the area. The survey revealed a light sheen within a 200-foot stretch directly in front of Duquesne which will most likely evaporate by the end of today.

The Before and After pictures are striking – and point out the need for a thorough plan for the old Summerland oil field. Heal the Ocean is in conversation with state officials about having an updated geology study done for the Summerland area (the last one was done in the 1930s or 40s) – to develop a bigger approach to remedying the oil problem there. The Duquesne oil pit tells us we need to step up the pace from the one-at-a-time band-aid approach we've been applying to this problem.

Heal the Ocean thanks every worker who remedied Duquesne. We were told by many of them that beach-goers thanked them as they went by – which surprised them, because oil equipment and operations this big on a beach, are usually encountered with protest. Summerlanders know they are on the way to a better, cleaner, ocean and beach. Heal the Ocean again thanks Nora McNeely Hurley whose generous family Manitou Fund has paid for critical research, as well as Harry’s work not paid for by the State Lands Commission, and we love her special brand of cheerleading.

Thank you, Harry!
Photo by Hillary Hauser.
Login to add Comments


Show Comments
sbsunshine Dec 11, 2021 04:22 AM
Duquesne is Done!

Amazing and noble work. Some of the most important jobs on this planet. Thank you for your service to our Earth, the animals and humanity. You are real heroes.

a-1639213021 Dec 11, 2021 12:57 AM
Duquesne is Done!

Hillary (who I only met once working with animal care), and Harry, and EVERYONE at Heal the Ocean: THANK YOU!!
And to all who donate.

You may say some action is a band-aid, and I understand that, but I am so grateful for those band-aids.

Please Login or Register to comment on this.