Cleaning Grey’s oil spill will take weeks

2016-10-05 09:19
Drizit Environmental hazmat (hazardous materials) technician Quentin Labuschagne looks over the oil-soaked plants in the Dorpspruit near the Royal Showgrounds on Tuesday morning.

Drizit Environmental hazmat (hazardous materials) technician Quentin Labuschagne looks over the oil-soaked plants in the Dorpspruit near the Royal Showgrounds on Tuesday morning. (Chelsea Pieterse)

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Efforts to clean the massive oil spill in the Dorpspruit are underway after the source of the spill was confirmed to be Grey’s Hospital.

The spill, which was reported to the Duzi-uMngeni Conservation Trust (Duct) last Tuesday, covered large parts of the Dorpspruit and one of its tributaries with several birds, including a duckling and gosling, saved from the slick.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said officials from the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, the Department of Water and Sanitation as well as Msunduzi, traced the spill to the boilers at Grey’s Hospital.

A dye test was done in the presence of Department of Health staff to confirm the spill of the furnace oil via the storm water system.

Drizit Environmental, a hazardous waste clean-up company, was contracted to clean the river and rehabilitate the soil that had been affected by the spill on Friday afternoon.

Drizit Environmental sales representative, Lindi Swanepoel, said as soon as Grey’s Hospital was alerted that the source of the oil spill came from their property on Friday, they contacted Drizit to start the clean-up, which began last Friday evening.

She said clean-up staff estimated that around 2 000 litres of oil had been spilled into the river.

Swanepoel said the clean-up operation began as soon as Grey’s Hospital contacted them, with the company containing the spill to stop it from travelling further downstream on Friday evening.

She said the containment of the spill continued on Saturday and Sunday, with clean-up and rehabilitation getting under way on Monday and Tuesday.

It is estimated that the clean-up and rehabilitation of the affected area will take three to four weeks.

Due to the storm in Pietermaritzburg over the weekend, the river’s water level was raised, leading to multiple banks, trees and plants being covered in the oily substance. Tree leaves have been blackened by the oil, while plants and grass at the water’s edge have also been contaminated.

The KwaZulu-Natal Health Department had not responded to media queries at the time of going to print on Tuesday afternoon.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  oil spills

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