August 16, 20131259Views

The Department of Disaster
Management (DDM) is co-ordinating a multi-agency response to an oil spill which
occurred in Road Town.

The agency was alerted to
the situation late yesterday and since then has been working collaboratively
with the BVI Fire and Rescue Services, Water and Sewerage Department,
Conservation and Fisheries Department and the Ministry of Communication and

Deputy Director of the DDM,
Ms. Evangeline Inniss who was on the scene of the oil spill last evening,
confirmed that waste oil discharged at the sewage pump station near the Road
Town roundabout, leaked into the drainage system and flowed outwards towards
Craft Alive Village.

Immediate efforts were made
to contain the oil with the use of sand as a barrier to prevent the highly
contaminant substance from entering the sea. Leakage was also detected near
Village Cay this morning and an absorbent boom has been installed around the
outflow pipes to prevent the oil from escaping into the sea.

Director of Disaster
Management Ms. Sharleen DaBreo explained that work is moving swiftly to ensure
that the clean-up operation is completed soon. 
She indicated that Minister for Communications and Works, Honourable
Mark Vanterpool has been closely involved in the operations and has visited the
site on several occasions.  He is aware
of the seriousness of the situation and has given his full support in ensuring
that the operations are carried out effectively and expeditiously.

“They have contained the
oil within the drain and work this morning focussed on removing the drain covers.
Honourable Vanterpool has been briefed and the next phase of work will entail
the actual clean-up,” Ms. Da Breo stated.

She added, “There is
significant sludge from sewage as well as the contamination from the waste oil,
which has introduced new contaminants to the oil. We have prevented it from
entering the sea so far but it is a highly toxic area and the officers are
working under significantly hazardous conditions.”

The DDM Director said
measures have also been taken to ensure public safety. “We have cordoned off
the area to ensure that it is secured and prevent persons from stumbling into
the highly contaminated water.”

Given the highly
contaminant nature of the operation, the DDM and collaborating agencies are
working steadfastly to conclude the operation as soon as possible.  There may be a need to close portions of
Waterfront Drive later this afternoon to facilitate work by heavy equipment
that is being sourced to remove the contaminants within the drain.  The public will be notified of specific
details in this regard later today.

According to the 2009
National Oil Spill Plan, one of the many functions of the DDM is to maintain a
centralised record of events and as such, should be notified of all incidents
involving the dumping or spillage of oil or other harmful products that occur
in the BVI.