Petrol spills into stream

2009-08-07 00:00

CHASE Valley residents were told to be ready to evacuate their homes on Wednesday night when petrol from a capsized tanker spilled into the area’s drainage system.

According to ward councillor Dave Ryder, the BP road tanker overturned on English Road at around 11 pm. Because of the subsequent petrol spillage, safety officials attending the accident feared that residents in the immediate vicinity were at the risk of a “backflash’’.

“Anything could have happened … A car driving on that road could have caused a spark that could have reached the tanker and caused it to catch alight,” said Ryder. “To my knowledge, nobody was made to evacuate their homes, they were just told to be alert.”

Ryder said that the tanker was en route to a nearby garage, but the driver got lost and tried to turn around at the cul de sac at the end of the road.

The trailer of the vehicle then “flipped over”.

“The petrol went in the gutter and then the storm-water drains, and finally made its way into the [nearby] stream,” he said.

He added that environmental services worked around the clock to clear up the contaminated water. “They broke down the gates of Hatcheries Park last night — and rightfully so — to begin working on the stream …They’re also pumping the petrol out of the stream behind Midlands Mall.”

When the Witness visited the site yesterday morning, petrol was still flowing downstream.

“I am concerned and I hope BP will be able to clear all of it up and the stream can rehabilitate. Some guys at the sight said it might take up to two months to do so.”

In a statement released by the petroleum giant, BP expressed its regret over the incident.

“Clean up procedures were in operation shortly after the incident and the spillage was contained, preventing it from entering a nearby river via a storm water drain,” said a company spokesman.

“Unfortunately, a stretch of a small stream was polluted necessitating the cordoning off of the area during clean up operations,” he said.

They have assembled an investigation team to establish the cause of the accident.

According to local traffic authorities, the driver of the tanker has not been charged.

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