Cleanup crew at Refugio Beach. Image courtesy of Cal Spill Watch OSPR/Twitter.

Cleanup crews have recovered about 20 percent of the nearly 100,000 gallons of crude spilled near Santa Barbara last week after a pipeline rupture.

Houston-based Plains All American, the owner of the ruptured pipeline, told NBC News that about one-fifth of the spilled crude had been recovered as of Sunday.

The company added that further assessments of the leak places the spill size at about 101,000 gallons, or about 4,000 gallons less than the 105,000 gallon figure widely reported last week.

“The current estimate of the worst-case volume release is now approximately 2,400 barrels, or 101,000 gallons. Our efforts to recover oil from the pipeline are ongoing, and all calculations remain under review,” Plains All American said.

Cleanup crews have recovered between 18,900 to 21,000 gallons from the spill site, NBC News said.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Coast Guard said the 2,400 barrel spill could take months to clean up.

Plains has begun removing the ruptured section of the pipeline but the cause of the accident is still unknown.

Santa Barbara’s district attorney told Reuters her office is looking into potential criminal or civil charges.

“I am working with the federal government and the attorney general’s office to look into potential criminal, and/or civil prosecution,” Santa Barbara’s district attorney Joyce Dudley said.

The Environmental Defense Center in Santa Barbara is also considering legal action, Reuters said.

Local, state and federal officials have established a unified command to investigate the leak and coordinate cleanup efforts.

Plains All American was able to shut down the pipeline 30 minutes after detecting pressure irregularities and also blocked a nearby culvert to stop crude from escaping into the ocean.

Despite the rapid response, the spill polluted a four mile stretch of beach and created oil slicks that extended about nine miles along the Pacific coastline.

Two state beaches, Refugio and El Capitan, remain closed to the public.


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