Oil spill halts Gammams

A technical error in a pipeline at Namibia Dairies caused a 6 000-litre heavy fuel oil spill into Windhoek's sewerage system.

06 February 2019 | Local News

ELVIRA HATTINGH

A spill of roughly 6 000 litres of heavy fuel oil into Windhoek’s sewerage system on Sunday has halted all purification works at Gammams.

It is still unclear when the water purification plant will be up-and-running again.

According to Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group spokesperson Roux-ché Locke, the spill occurred on Sunday morning at the Namibia Dairies plant in Avis due to a technical problem with a pipeline, but they were able to contain the spill, keeping most of it on the premises.

“We took immediate action when we became aware of the spill, working with all relevant stakeholders, including the City of Windhoek, to ensure the situation is not worsened and is contained,” she explained.

A response team comprising of Namibia Dairies and municipal staff members was created to salvage the situation, assess the impact and create a rehabilitation plan.

“Namibia Diaries has assumed the responsibility to ensure that any and all aspects of environmental pollution is managed in a responsible manner,” Locke told Namibian Sun on Monday. In a later media release it was announced that the greatest environmental impact was around the Namibia Dairies premises and that an assessment on the impact downstream was still needed to be undertaken.

Locke explained that heavy fuel oil is used for the boiler system and a technical mishap led to the spill.

“We have already implemented measures to ensure that something like this does not happen and that maintenance to the system is regular and up-to-date. We also have mechanisms installed to prevent a spill like this. However, the volume of the oil was too high. The company is currently busy probing what can be done differently in a case like this, not just at our factories and plants but in Windhoek, in general.”

Completely overburdened

Gammams water purification plant foreman Abner Ambondo explained the waste water system was completely overburdened and the discharge systems were flooded, with water flowing out of manholes.

Attempts to allow the oil to move through the purification process failed, but the water was held within the plant.

Ambondo told Namibian Sun they were concerned that the polluted water could enter river systems around the city, but added that experts from as far as South Africa have been called in to mitigate the impacts.

He said the scale of the damage is still being determined, including the damage to their equipment, which was covered in oil. Fish used in the purification process for the breakdown of phosphates and nitrates have also started dying.

Ambondo said they are unsure about when the system will be up-and-running again.

“At the moment, we are rinsing the system.”

On top of this, he said the fish population would have to be restored before they could start supplying partly purified water to Windhoek.

“At this point in time, the City cannot purify any water.”

Windhoek relies heavily on the recycling of waste water to supply its residents and currently 21 000 m3 of potable water is produced daily using recycling.

Windhoek’s household waste water is treated at Gammams first, after which it is further purified at the more advanced Goreangab plant. Waste water is also treated at Goreangab, but this is mostly used as grey water for the maintenance of sports fields in and around the city. Ujams, north of the city, takes in industrial waste water, which contains metals and is too toxic for Gammams.

Similar News

 

Kauluma was always there

13 hours ago | Local News

The head of state, in his capacity as the president of Swapo, sent out a message of condolences to the family and loved ones of...

Community health workers squat for jobs

2 days ago - 15 February 2019 | Local News

A small group of trained community health extension workers are squatting indefinitely at the entrance of the health ministry's head office in Windhoek in a...

Plotting against landlessness

3 days ago - 14 February 2019 | Local News

Namibia finds itself at a very important juncture. Following the land conference held towards the end of last year, interpreting and implementing its resolutions optimally...

Huang ta futitha ookahewa ke mongeshefa

3 days ago - 14 February 2019 | Local News

Sha landula oshipotha shefutitho lyoomiliyona 3.7 shoka sha tulilwa mo omukomeh gwahengano lyaaniilonga, Petrus Nevonga, kansela nale gwoSwapo, Christian Iitope ehangano lyoJinhao Investment CC, monena...

Disabled to get much-needed boost

4 days ago - 13 February 2019 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKES A new disability project, ‘Strengthening integrated systems to promote access to services for persons with disabilities in Namibia’ was launched in Windhoek yesterday....

Aandonga mourn Kauluma

5 days ago - 12 February 2019 | Local News

Former Ondonga Traditional Authority chairperson and senior Ongula yaNetanga headman, Peter Shimweefeleni Kauluma, died yesterday at the age of 82.Kauluma was described as the mastermind...

We don't have ODC's assets - Kwala

6 days ago - 11 February 2019 | Local News

The board chairperson of the recently established Namibia Industrialisation Development Agency (NIDA), Frans Kwala, has rubbished claims that the agency has taken control of the...

Tributes pour in for Rumpf

6 days ago - 11 February 2019 | Local News

Tributes continue to pour in for 60-year-old Swapo activist and well-known diplomat Hanno Rumpf, who died on Friday after an illness. President Hage Geingob said...

Namibian freedom still intact

6 days ago - 11 February 2019 | Local News

Namibia was ranked 81st among 195 countries or territories for freedom in 2018 and was deemed “free” according to a report issued recently by Freedom...

Ya thika pe 100 taya ka tulululwa mOndangwa

6 days ago - 11 February 2019 | Local News

Elelo lyondoolopa yaNdangwa otali pangele okutululula aakwashigwana ye li 100 okuza molukanda Uutala nokuya pa ooplota mOnatsi .Omunambelewa Omukuluntu gwelelo lyondoolopa ndjoka, Ismael Namgongo...

Latest News

Logistical problems force Nigeria election...

18 hours ago | Africa

Nigeria's electoral watchdog today postponed presidential and parliamentary elections for one week, just hours before polls were due to open.The two main political parties swiftly...

Hostel a threat to lives

2 days ago - 15 February 2019 | Education

The Kavango West education directorate continues to subsidise a dilapidated church hostel at Nkurenkuru, despite a 2010 directive by the health ministry that it must...

Foreign graduates protest 'unfair' tests

2 days ago - 15 February 2019 | Health

Dozens of foreign-trained medical and dentistry graduates took to the streets yesterday to protest against a pre-internship exam which they claim is unfair and discriminatory.One...

FirstRand Namibia fights back

2 days ago - 15 February 2019 | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – FirstRand Namibia bounced back to positive profit growth in the six months ended 31 December 2018 after taking a knock in the...

Our people sustain our group

2 days ago - 15 February 2019 | Columns

Engaged employees help establish better relationships with customers, since staff are the ones who are actually in contact with customers. This is why FirstRand Namibia...

NaCC scrutinises fuel imports

2 days ago - 15 February 2019 | Business

The Namibia Competition Commission (NaCC) is requesting input from interested and affected parties on the reinstatement of the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia's (Namcor) intent...

Our Achilles heel of accountability

2 days ago - 15 February 2019 | Columns

Enforcing greater accountability has always been an Achilles heel for the Namibian government over the years. Questions have been raised over whether there is indeed...

RA, Unam sign MoU

2 days ago - 15 February 2019 | Business

Justicia Shipena On 12 February, the Roads Authority (RA) and the University of Namibia (Unam) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the RA’s...

Mutorwa’s journey with science

2 days ago - 15 February 2019 | People

Justicia Shipena Marius Mutorwa is a lecturer at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) in the department of health...

Load More