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Oil spill in South Trinidad

By FELICIA RAMPERSAD Thursday, February 21 2008

click on pic to zoom in
OIL DOWN: Buckets of crude oil collected from the yard of Guitry Chance's Ramroopsingh Trace, Woodland home after a Petrotrin oil-transport pipe ruptu...
OIL DOWN: Buckets of crude oil collected from the yard of Guitry Chance's Ramroopsingh Trace, Woodland home after a Petrotrin oil-transport pipe ruptu...

THE overpowering and nauseating smell of crude oil pervaded the air yesterday at Ramroopsingh Trace, Woodland in South Trinidad following an oil leak in the area on Tuesday. Residents awoke with upset stomachs after one of Petrotrin’s 16-inch oil-transfer lines ruptured. The company said three barrels of oil spilled onto residents backyards and into drains.

There were no reports of vegetation or livestock contamination as a result of the spillage, but in the backyards of many homes pools of crude oil were seen and lawns and gardens were slicked with oil.

Since the oil leak, many residents have not cooked and Petrotrin has provided meals to affected residents. Guitry Chance, 32, said her family panicked when they noticed a huge bump on the road.

“The road was starting to rise and we were wondering what would happen next.” The ruptured oil line transports crude oil from Forest Reserve to the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery. Residents saw oil spurting from a fissure in the road which was caused by the ruptured line.

“The smell is unbearable. I am feeling sick. My mother-in-law collapsed under the fumes and had to be carried off to hospital for treatment in an ambulance. She is staying by some relatives,” Chance said.

“It is an old pipe and it is lying right underneath this house so we got it the worst. But Petrotrin has always responded quickly and cleans up the area,” another resident said. Environmental Management Authority (EMA) Corporate Communications Officer Alicia Charles said all safety measures were in place at the oil spill site on Tuesday.

Petrotrin officials yesterday explained that a channel is currently being built for the oil’s drainage in the event of spills.

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