A second oil leak has polluted the Guaracara River in less than five months, mere days before Christmas.The leak was detected days after the anniversary of the disastrous La Brea oil spill.Yesterday oil from the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery leaked into the Guaracara River and Marabella residents are fearful they may not have a yuletide to celebrate.
Already one resident, Glenis Quashie-Dalrymple, had to seek medical treatment yesterday for respiratory problems she said was caused by fumes from the oil-covered river which flows behind her Silk Cotton Street, Marabella, home.She said over the weekend a high sulphuric smell was evident in the neighbourhood and her two younger children – ages seven and nine – complained of feeling unwell.
"In the night they would be coughing but they do not have any runny nose or fever. For the last two days we notice a high sulphur smell and my son was vomiting," she said.Quashie-Dalrymple, a police officer, said she was okay until yesterday morning when she began feeling sick. She sought treatment at the San Fernando General Hospital and had to use the nebulizer to assist her with her breathing.
She said when she woke up yesterday morning she was stunned to see the condition of the water in the Guaracara River.She added: "When we woke up I opened the kitchen window facing the river and I looked out."I noticed the river was the same as it was the morning of the oil spill (in July). At that time (yesterday morning) tide was high and the bamboo was hanging over the river and it had oil.
"That is what make me realise it was an oil spill. The smell was strong." She said since the July oil spill residents often saw oil floating sporadically down the Guaracara River, especially when rain fell."However," she said, "it was more severe than the last time. Every time the rain falls you would get oil coming down the river for half day and then it would clear up but today (yesterday) the smell is bad."
Quashie-Dalrymple said if the situation did not improve she did not expect to have a good Christmas.Sixth Street Extension resident, Isaac Rampaul, 69, shared Quashie-Dalrymple's view. He said he did not know what to expect for Christmas now that the oil spill had occurred.He said in July residents were not allowed to cook and now with Christmas mere days away, he was not sure what was going to happen.
Yesterday a pungent sulphur smell was thick in the air when the T&T Guardian visited Silk Cotton Street and Bayshore, Marabella.The river bank was caked with fresh oil and the water, at various points, was covered with thick oil, accompanied by an nauseating smell.
In July over 5,000 barrels of slop oil escaped from a tank at the refinery and made its way into the Guaracara River, causing confusion for the residents.Petrotrin incurred significant losses following that spill. The Marabella spill came on the heels of the December 17, 2013 spill in Marabella.
Petrotrin: Overflow contained
Petrotrin has confirmed it is treating with a new oil leak that has made its way into the Guaracara River.Last evening Gillian Friday, Petrotrin corporate communications manager, in response to queries from the T&T Guardian said, via e-mail, Petrotrin officials responded to "a small leak in its heavy oil system at the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery, stemming the overflow and containing the remnants that had escaped into the neighbouring Guaracara River."
Friday said on Sunday "Petrotrin's first responders contained the overflow within the refinery and installed containment booms along the river."She said vacuum trucks were also mobilised for immediate clean-up activities.Friday assured that "no oil has escaped into the sea."She added that in exercising caution "Petrotrin officials also initiated air-quality monitoring in the neighbouring Marabella community. This monitoring is ongoing."
Friday said Petrotrin had noted recent reports relating to medical issues alleged to have arisen from the slop oil leak at Guaracara and the corporate response to the spill "included the provision of medical services to a number of residents of Marabella who accessed the facilities made available and follow-up care to persons where this was required."
She said the company continued its programme of follow-up medical screening which continued to be available to persons with medical issues that may be related to the July slop oil leak.