NATIONAL NEWS - An aquatic clean-up operation at the Horwoods’ Farm dam was set to come to an end on 12 January.
The operation was held in response to tens of thousands of litres of oil flowing into the stormwater servitudes in the greater Edenvale area.
The oil flowed into the water system after a fire occurred at Fuchs Lubricants Car Oils and Greases, an Isando factory on 13 December.
Ward 18 Clr Heather Hart said it is believed that approximately 100 000 litres of oil leaked from storage tanks, which melted during the fire.
She said as a result of the clean-up operation, over 50 000 litres was reclaimed by Drizit Environmental, which specialises in hazmat spill clean-up response services and specialised clean-up services.
Staff from Bloemfontein, Pietermaritzburg and Durban were called in to assist.
“Although 100 00 litres of oil leaked out of the tanks, not all of it entered the water system.”
According to a press release issued by Fuchs Lubricants Car Oils and Greases, Drizit Environmental was notified and responded to the incident.
“Absorbent booms were placed at the entrance to the stormwater drain on Diesel Road and containment measures were put in place by Drizit.”
“Skimming and sucking up of the oil is being conducted by Drizit.
“To minimise the effects on the environment, Drizit initiated containment and started to skim and pump out the oil from the surface-water sources.”
On January 9 at Horwoods’ Farm, multiple absorbent booms were seen in the dam absorbing oil and collecting other debris in the water.
Hart said at the park, the most affected area was within streams in the area commonly known as the island.
“I believe the island was one of the most difficult areas to clean because of the multiple streams and thick vegetation.”
Hart highlighted that although water contaminated with oil was flowing from Isando, cleaner water was flowing in from Hurlyvale.
Hart explained that besides cleaning the waterways and reclaiming the oil, many birds needed to be treated.
She said this was done by SA Wild Life Rehabilitation Centre.
“Horwood’s Dam has never been a really big place for water birds because of the ongoing sewerage and chemical pollution that comes from Isando from time to time,” said Hart
Hart explained that only a few small flocks of Egyptian Geese, Red-knobbed Coots, African Black Ducks and a few Cormorants reside in the park’s waterways.
Hart said over 30 birds were taken in by SA Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre to be treated.
The birds were found along the water system between the source of the spill and First Avenue bridge.
Hart said three oiled Redknobbed Coots and six oiled Egyptian geese, which are too strong to catch were identified in the park.
“If the oiled birds aren’t captured, they could potentially die.”
Hart explained that when a bird, covered in oil, preens itself or another bird it ingests the oil or contaminants on the feathers.
Although the clean-up operation was set to be completed by January 12, Drizit will monitor the water system for any remaining oil.