Vereeniging shouldn't panic about fuel leak - MEC

Johannesburg - Residents in Vereeniging have been assured that there is no reason to panic following a fuel leak in the area, Gauteng Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Jacob Mamabolo said on Wednesday.

On June 30, fire and rescue services received complaints of a "heavy fuel odour" in the Vereeniging CBD, and an investigation found that petrol and gas fumes were coming from a main sewer network in the area, Mamabolo said in a statement.

The fire and rescue department together with  energy and chemical company Sasol conducted tests on Tuesday to ascertain the severity of the pollution.

"I want to assure the community that all measures have been taken to ensure the safety of the residents and that contingency plans are in place to avert any possible dangerous scenario," the MEC said.

The filing station where the fumes were coming from has underground tanks with a 65 000 litres of petrol capacity, 37 000 litres of diesel and 440 litres of LPG.

The filing station had been asked to provide its pressure test certificate to ascertain if that might not be the source of the leak, Mamabolo said.

The owner indicated that he would conduct a second pressure test.

"Fire and rescue is currently awaiting the certificate, with the purpose of determining the leakage.

"Should the findings confirm the leakage, it will be expected for the owner to correct the leakage immediately," he said.

Contingency plans have been put in place.

This includes having the Vereeniging fire station on 24-hour standby and making sure there is sufficient fire fighting foam at all three fire stations in the Emfuleni local municipality.

Vanderbijlpark and Evaton fire stations would provide additional backup, while Nidvaal, Lesedi and City of Johannesburg municipalities promised to assist if needed.

There would also be continuous inspection of the sewer system and affected manholes would be regularly opened for natural ventilation. If this did not work mechanical ventilation would be used.

Mambolo said the contingency plan was enough to deal with the anticipated situation.

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