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

 

Renewed calls to report, end GBV cases

1 hour ago | Local News

Renewed calls have been made for victims of gender-based violence (GBV) to be empowered to report it, and for coordinated action to stop the crime,...

Rundu has a livestock problem

1 hour ago | Local News

The Rundu town council has urged residents keeping livestock within the town boundaries to remove them.The council also warned farmers from surrounding villages that their...

Namibia e li potango miilongo yi na iikundaneki yamanguluka...

1 hour ago | Local News

Epangelo olya tsuwa omukumo opo li ninge oonkambadhala dhokuyambulapo omukalo gwokumona omauyelele ngele Namibia ota kalekepo onkatu ye, mpoka oshilongo shili ngashiingeyi momusholondondo...

Hengari suspended

11 hours ago | Local News

The Namibia Wildlife Resorts board has suspended the company’s managing director Zelna Hengari. The news follows after the board chairman Leonard Iipumbu, early in April...

Bipa millions still unrecovered

1 day - 23 April 2019 | Local News

The Business and Intellectual Property Authority (Bipa) says recovering the millions spent to buy a former bar in Wanaheda is proving to be a complicated...

UPM wants Rehoboth by-elections

6 days ago - 18 April 2019 | Local News

The United People's Movement (UPM) has called for by-elections to take place at Rehoboth, following the en masse suspension of the town's councillors last year.The...

Namvet plans court challenge

6 days ago - 18 April 2019 | Local News

The Namibia War Veterans Trust (Namvet) says it will soon launch a court challenge to continue its fight to get former SWATF/Koevoet soldiers recognised as...

More salvos fired at Namport

6 days ago - 18 April 2019 | Local News

The Economic Association of Namibia (EAN) has leapt to the defence of independent analyst Rainer Ritter, whose recent assertions about Namport's massive harbour investments were...

Namvet ta pangele okuya kompangu

6 days ago - 18 April 2019 | Local News

Ehangano lyoNamibia War Veterans Trust (Namvet) olya popi kutya otali ka ya kompangu moonkambadhala dhokukondjitha opo aakwiita nale yoSWATF/Koevoet ya dhidhilikwe onga oonakulwa aakulu.Omupopiliko gwoNamvet,...

Men urged to raise voice against GBV

1 week ago - 17 April 2019 | Local News

At least one in three Namibian women faces some form of violence from a man, which underlines the urgent need for men to take centre...

Latest News

Warning of dire food shortages

1 hour ago | Disasters

The latest Crop Prospects, Food Security and Drought Situation Report has predicted massive reductions for all crop-producing areas in the expected harvest season, including cereal...

Solving your challenges with remuneration

1 hour ago | Business

We live in an environment of continued cost-constraints, skills shortage and labour mobility. At the same time, there is pressure to improve productivity, and improve...

ACC: Budget not enough to...

1 hour ago | Economics

CATHERINE SASMAN The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) says the N$61.6 million budget proposed for its operations is woefully inadequate.The...

Do good for others

1 hour ago | Opinion

Human rights are needed to protect and preserve every individual's humanity. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is clear in highlighting the basic rights and...

Violent Easter weekend

1 hour ago | Crime

The four-day Easter weekend was marred by a spate of violent crimes including a dozen reported sexual assaults and armed robberies, in addition to a...

Watch your mouth

1 hour ago | Politics

Only half of Namibians believe that they have the right of freedom of association, says an Afrobarometer policy paper titled 'Are Africans' freedoms slipping away?'...

E-tax rollout postponed again

1 hour ago | Economics

The finance ministry introduced a new electronic income-tax filing system in January, but deadlines are repeatedly being postponed.The date when the new system must become...

Managing fall armyworm

1 hour ago | Agriculture

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has formulated a framework for partnerships for the sustainable management of fall armyworm in Africa which will focus on...

Meat Board sub-committees meet

1 hour ago | Agriculture

The Livestock Producers' Organisation (LPO) is represented on various sub-committees of the Meat Board and these committees met to discuss issues affecting the sector. The...

Load More