Cleanup Work Is Continuing After Fuel Spill

April 3, 2017

[Updated] St. George’s MPs Nandi Outerbridge and Kenneth Bascome, Premier Michael Dunkley and Environment Minister Sylvan Richards met with Rubis officials on Saturday at the site of last week’s oil leak.

They were briefed on the situation by Rubis Managing Director Graham Redford and a geologist and field engineer from Arcadis US, an environmental and engineering services company that specializes in environmental remediation.

Fire Service at Rubis Ferry Reach Bermuda March 28 2017 (2)

Mr. Richards, who’d visited the Ferry Road site earlier this week, said he was “confident Rubis was doing everything its power to clean up the spill.”

“The cleanup work is continuing,” he said. “The findings are not yet definitive, but it appears the leaked fuel is contained within the bounds of the Rubis property.

“Rubis has said it will be providing the public with regular updates, and the Environment Ministry will continue to monitor the cleanup to make sure area residents are fully protected.”

Following the briefing, the Premier and Mrs. Outerbridge, who also serves as Minister for Social Development and Sport, visited area residents to answer their questions and provide them with contact information for further updates and questions.

“Residents need to be given the clearest information on the situation, and that’s what we’ve been trying to achieve since becoming aware of the leak,” Mrs. Outerbridge said.

“Although the assessment by Rubis indicates there is no pollution threat to area residents, I would advise them to follow whatever advisories Rubis issues, just to be safe.”

Mrs. Outerbridge added that any area resident with concerns about the situation should contact Mr. Redford at Rubis at 299-7028, the Environment Ministry’s Pollution Control Section at 239-2356, or her cell at 294-3203.

Update: When asked for comment on the incident, Jonathan Starling, Executive Director of environmental group Greenrock said, “We remain concerned about the environmental impact of this spill, which at latest report appears to have been in the region of 19,200 gallons – although we’re not sure if that’s US gallons or imperial gallons at the moment, so we’re looking at a range of 72,680 to 87,285 liters of gasoline that has been spilled. That’a a considerable spillage regardless of which form of gallons they’re using.”

Mr. Starling said, “Our concerns are primarily about health and safety for the workers and residents of the area, and the potential impact on the environment. Due to the nature of our geology and the nature of gasoline, we understand that the bulk of this spill will now be floating on top of the ground water lens in that area – and we note that there are at least two known caves in the neighbourhood of the facility.”

“We have questions about [i] how did this spill happen, especially due to the magnitude of the spill; [ii] when did this spill happen and when where the authorities made aware of it; [iii] how quickly – and efficiently – will the pollution be cleared up; and [iv] will there be reparations to the environment for this spill?

“We know that in other jurisdictions there are serious financial damages for incidents like this – if we look at the case of Magellan, they were fined $418,000 for a 45,000 [US] gallon spill in Oklahoma. Unfortunately it’s not clear to me whether or legislation is strong enough for something of this magnitude.”

“We believe this incident underscores why we need to shift away from fossil fuels. Not only are they contributing to global climate change and air pollution, they also pose risks when accidents like this happen.

“We’re thankful it wasn’t a spill out on our reefs, or into a nature reserve, however this spill will still have an environmental impact. Renewable energy sources would have a much less of an impact and it’s time that we start aggressively phasing out fossil fuels and phasing in solar, wind and other relevant renewable energy sources for Bermuda.”

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Comments (8)

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  1. archy says:

    This is a joke. RUBiS have not told us what the cause is, they have not said how much gas leaked and they have not told us what they are doing to fix it all.
    By withholding so much important information we must only assume the worst.

    • A joke? says:

      Joke or no joke, eventually they will come clean…

    • JohnBoy says:

      Just don’t light a match once you cross the bridge.

  2. Kim Smith says:

    Yes, I think knowing the cause would be very important in order to monitor how it will be addressed to avoid a repeat in the future.

  3. Don't assume the worst... says:

    From this update it sounds like the leak has been occurring for a period of time rather than a one of failure of equipment. I would not assume the worst. It appears that Rubis mobilized both internal and external resources immediately after discovering the leak and they have advised that based on testing so far it looks like the leak is contained within Rubis’ property – it could have been a lot worse! We are all consumers of gas and we must accept there is a risk that environmental pollution could occur through the transportation and distribution of fuel. Rubis has an obligation to ensure that the equipment is well maintained and pipes not allowed to corrode to the point of failure, but we should not judge the cause or cast blame until the assessment is concluded.

  4. Eye in the sky says:

    What type of fuel leaked?

    What quantity?

    What was the duration of the leak?

    Where did the leaked fuel flow?

    How long will remediation take?

    What are the potential issues for the surrounding environment?

  5. Joe Bloggs says:

    What type of fuel leaked? Gasoline

    What quantity? Approximately 19,000 gallons

    What was the duration of the leak? Not yet known

    Where did the leaked fuel flow? Into the ground

    How long will remediation take? Not yet known

    What are the potential issues for the surrounding environment? Not yet known

  6. Jadon says:

    Where’s BEST and green rock on this one?? Oh wait … friends and fam lol