Meeting tomorrow on preventing oil spills
BY Thameenah Razeek
A meeting will be held tomorrow (8), with all the stakeholders, to prevent any oil spill, following floods at the Sapugaskanda oil refinery in the future and mixing of oil with flood waters, Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila said.
The Sapugaskanda oil refinery was flooded following heavy rains and water crept into a refinery system in the oil-filled clearing premises, causing an oil spill which mixed with the flood waters. Officials from a number of institutions, including the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), the Navy, the Coast Guard, and the National Water Supply and Drainage Board, are attempting to contain the situation, said Gammanpila.
He inspected the 50-year-old treatment plant system used to filter oil-mixed water on the ground floor of the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery, which is operated by the CPC. The Minister told reporters that people are complaining about not being able to get water from their wells. “The water from the taps has not been contaminated, according to the Water Board.
They claim that the water is safe to drink, but the locals are concerned. We hope to hold a meeting with the Chairmen of the Pradeshiya Sabha, CPC, Water Supply and Drainage Board and the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) this Tuesday (8) to discuss how to prevent this problem from happening again,” he noted. When asked if there will be any compensation for the damage done to the people, he said they would monitor the damage, calculate it and take action to pay compensation.
The reason for taking immediate action in this regard, with the assistance of the Navy, the Coast Guard, and the MEPA, since the day this happened, was to take steps to recover the oil before it gets mixed with Kelani River waters. In response to another media query, he stated that he is not accountable for the past and that this is the first time this has happened since he became a Minister.
“The first step is to prevent this from happening again. The next stage is to pay the persons who have been affected. We will make certain to accomplish both of these goals,” he concluded.