Significant amount of Kerosene oil recovered in pipeline leak
A significant amount of the Kerosene oil which escaped from the damaged pipeline at the A48 in Nantycaws, Carmarthen, has been recovered.
Valero, the company responsible for the pipeline works has confirmed approximately 120,000 litres of the estimated 140,000 litres of oil lost has been recovered to date.
Works to repair the pipeline and isolate the leak last weekend were successful; with the westbound carriageway of the A48 opening earlier than planned.
Commissioning of the new pipeline will commence at the end of this week and the re-opening of the A48 eastbound carriageway is planned to take place on November 1.
Carmarthenshire County Council has now taken over as lead agency as part of the recovery operation, working closely with Natural Resources Wales, Public Health Wales, Dyfed-Powys Police and other partners.
NRW staff are continuing to monitor the site and investigate the impact of the incident on the local environment.
Tests confirm no public water drinking supplies have been affected; and air quality monitoring has shown very low concentrations of Kerosene, below what would pose a significant risk to public health. Further tests are ongoing and officers from both Public Health Wales and the council’s environmental health and licensing service are continuing to advise and reassure residents.
People are still being advised to keep pets and livestock away from the water where oil is visible.
Police are continuing to monitor traffic along the diversionary route with high visibility police presence during peak traffic times.
The council’s Executive Board Member for Environmental and Public Protection Cllr Jim Jones said: “This incident has had a major effect on the environment and the local community and we are doing all we can to help manage the recovery operation and reassure residents.
“The council’s Director of Environment is now chairing the multi-agency group set up to co-ordinate the recovery from this incident. Although now in the recovery stage, works to monitor the effects of the spill will continue for many months to come.”
Huwel Manley, NRW’s operations manager west, said: “The partner organisations and contractors have worked continuously to try and minimise the impact on people and the environment, but we know that the incident has had a major effect on the local community.
“Our officers will continue to monitor the site, take regular water samples and have carried out an ecological assessment of the river. This will inform our investigation into the impact of the incident and what actions we’ll need to take going forward.”
Huw Brunt, Consultant in Environmental Health Protection for Public Health Wales said: “The results of outdoor and indoor air monitoring provide reassurance that concentrations of kerosene and other petroleum hydrocarbons are very low and below those that would pose a significant risk to health.
"Test results show that public drinking water supplies have not been affected; those with private drinking water supplies in the area have been visited and provided with advice. Further ground and surface waters testing is being undertaken to assess wider environmental impacts. Public Health Wales will continue to provide advice and specialist support to partner agencies and the public as required.”
He added: “Public exposure to kerosene is now very unlikely. However, as a precaution the public are advised to avoid contact with any substance that looks or smells like fuel oil. If anyone gets kerosene on their skin or clothes, they should remove affected items of clothing and wash using soap and water. If they feel unwell, they should seek medical attention.”
Chief Inspector Peter Roderick of the Specialist Operations Department of Dyfed-Powys Police, who commanded the traffic management operation over the weekend, said: “Now that we have successfully managed to ensure the uninterrupted flow of traffic throughout the total closure period of the A48 over the past weekend, we will continue to provide resources to ensure that the diversion route for the eastbound closure is closely monitored and that the traffic flow continues to move, albeit accepting that at peak periods this will be slow.
“I want those travelling on the diversion route, as well as the residents of Llangunnor and those visiting the town centre, to feel an engaging police presence over the peak travel times. Police motorcyclists and patrol cars will be deployed to manage the potential congestion likely to occur at these times and assistance will be provided to our emergency service partners.”