Multiple Agencies Investigate After More Than 200 Bags With Oil-Soaked Dirt Are Removed From Spill in Echo Park

State and local officials have launched a joint investigation after discovering more than 200 plastic bags filled with oil-soaked dirt they believe were about to be removed from the site of a leaky oil well in Echo Park.

Los Angeles officials are preparing multiple citations against the owner of this downtown oil well after discovering more than 200 plastic bags filled with oil-soaked dirt they believe were about to be removed to avoid detection of a spill. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles officials are preparing multiple citations against the owner of this downtown oil well after discovering more than 200 plastic bags filled with oil-soaked dirt they believe were about to be removed to avoid detection of a spill. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

City, county and state officials converged on the site just west of downtown this week after a spill, estimated to be from 20 to 40 barrels, was discovered Saturday.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Fire Department said fire inspectors had visited the site twice in October and issued an unspecified citation, then issued more citations after the spill was discovered.

The inspection Saturday was precipitated by a whistleblower who told fire officials that the owner, Vida Resources LLC, was attempting to conceal a spill by covering the oil with dirt, LAFD spokesman Peter Sanders said.

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