Summerland Oil Mitigation Study Starts with the Sky!

The installation of the Air Quality Monitor. (Photos by Harry Rabin)

With $500,000 awarded to Heal the Ocean by State Assemblymember Monique Límon and an additional $105,000 donated from the Mericos Foundation, Heal the Ocean has kicked off the New Year with a grand start to its Summerland Oil Mitigation Study (SOMS) – with a comprehensive air quality study.

The two researchers, Ira Leifer of Bubbleology Research International and Harry Rabin of On the Wave Productions, put their heads together after the last well abandonment at the end of 2023.  The SOMS study will determine the most logical and efficient approach to capping the leaking wells by helping to reveal all the connectivity between wellheads, oil, and water reservoirs beneath the Earth’s surface.

Therefore, the two researchers are compiling a Graphical Information System (GIS) database as a critical resource to evaluate, strategize, and prioritize mitigation efforts for well abandonment. They are starting by measuring air emissions from oil seep, as oil can emit VOCS such as hydrogen sulfide, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene. The SOMS team is updating software, cell modems, and installing more monitoring equipment on an air quality weather and gas monitor tower in Summerland.

The abstract to the SOMS Study can be read here. It is titled “OS24A-04 Anthropogenically-Modified Seepage and Leakage from the World’s First Offshore, Abandoned Oil Field, Summerland, Southern California” authored by Ira Leifer and Harry Rabin.


Written by healtheocean

Heal the Ocean focuses on wastewater infrastructure – sewers and septic systems – as well as ocean dumping practices that have contributed to ocean pollution. They are focused on Santa Barbara County, but their methods now serve as a model for other coastal communities across the country. Learn more at

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