Environment & Science

California oil spill may have been far larger than projected

Local residents stand on oil covered rocks and sand at Refugio State Beach in Goleta, California, May 19, 2015.  An oil pipeline ruptured dumping oil into the Pacific Ocean near Santa Barbara, California, the US Coast Guard said. The spill was estimated at 21,000 gallons (80,000 liters) of oil, local media reported. AFP PHOTO/ ROBYN BECK        (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Local residents stand on oil covered rocks and sand at Refugio State Beach in Goleta, California, May 19, 2015. An oil pipeline ruptured dumping oil into the Pacific Ocean near Santa Barbara, California, the US Coast Guard said. The spill was estimated at 21,000 gallons (80,000 liters) of oil, local media reported. AFP PHOTO/ ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

An oil spill from a ruptured pipeline near Santa Barbara, California, that fouled beaches for miles may have been far larger in volume than earlier projected.

Plains All American Pipeline had estimated the May 19 spill at up to 101,000 gallons.

But in documents released Wednesday, the Texas-based company said alternate calculations found the spill might have been up to 143,000 gallons.

The company is continuing its analysis and the figures are preliminary.

The company has been criticized for taking about 90 minutes to alert federal responders after confirming the spill west of Santa Barbara that spread goo on beaches as far as 100 miles away.