EPA probes Port Kembla Harbour oil spill

An oil spill in Port Kembla Harbour earlier this month did not pose a health risk, the Environment Protection Authority said yesterday.

The EPA is investigating after nearly 50litres of marine oil leaked from a pipe into the harbour on September 1.

Park Petroleum, which has a fuel import berth in the port, reported the incident to the EPA immediately after it noticed oil leaking from one of its pipes.

The oil spilled onto the northern breakwall and into the harbour.

EPA Illawarra branch manager Peter Bloem yesterday said the spill had been confined to the outer harbour and had not affected any public recreation areas.

The EPA attended the site, along with staff from the Port Kembla Port Corporation to monitor clean-up activities.

Mr Bloem said the company had sprung into action to clean up the spill, placing booms on the water to contain the oil.

Port Kembla harbourmaster Kell Dillon said the Port Corporation had also put a boom around the spill and had been monitoring it.

NSW Ports chief executive Dom Figliomeni believed the leak was a result of a fault in one of the pipe’s valves.

He said very little oil had leaked into the harbour and there was no residual water pollution.

‘‘The oil didn’t migrate from the immediate area, it was quickly contained,’’ he said.

‘‘There was no risk to public health, it was contained within a very small space.’’

The incident was reported to a community-based Port Kembla pollution meeting on September 7.

Some clean-up is still occurring on land not accessible to the public, and booms remain in place as a precaution.

The EPA received a full incident report from Park Petroleum on September 2.

It is yet to make a decision about whether any regulatory action will be required.

Mr Bloem said it would determine any action, including the necessary measures to prevent a recurrence, once it completed its investigation.

Park Petroleum did not return the Mercury’s calls yesterday.

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