Fuel spill spotted in time

2016-09-22 06:00
Photos: facebook The fuel slick in the river on Friday.

Photos: facebook The fuel slick in the river on Friday.

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THANKS to an observant local resident, a fuel spill into a Margate river was spotted on time, leading to a team of experts being dispatched to the site to assess and contain the damage.

On Friday, the resident took pictures of a shimmering slick in the Nkongweni River that turned out to be a mixture of diesel and petrol. The river runs next to the Sasol filling station on National Road into the ocean.

Ugu Municipality spokesperson France Zama said a complaint about the spillage was received on Friday and a preliminary investigation revealed that it was as a result of about 40 litres­ of fuel from the filling station.

“The fuel mix entered the storm-water drainage system which drained down towards the river. Due to the debris and sand in the storm-water drainage system, some of the diesel content was trapped thereby minimising the level of contamination,” said Zama.

In line with the contingency guidelines developed by the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department Water and Sanitation, Zama said the owner was required to source services of specialists to render the environment safe as a matter of urgency.

When contacted, the filling station’s owner Allister Edwardes­ confirmed that the spillage emanated from his business, but said it was as a result of an error by his staff. “After it was brought to my attention, I immediately brought in the services of a company that deals with spillages and a clean-up was done. I can confirm everything is clear,” said Edwardes.

In an email, Norman Moss of Spilltech, the company that was sourced by Edwardes, confirmed that only a small amount of the fuel made it into river because of debris in the pipe. He said absorbents and containment materials were placed at certain sections of the river and these were removed on Saturday after further inspections were made.

According to a study done at the University of Zululand in 2013, diesel and other oil-based pollutants have a devastating effect on the environment as they contaminate the soil, causing a pH imbalance and prevent seed germination. It can also be harmful to other water organisms. It has not been determined what effects the spillage will have on the river.

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