AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after more than 1,500 litres of oily water escaped into the sea from Sullom Voe Oil Terminal’s dirty water drainage system during heavy rain on Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for BP said a joint pollution response team between the terminal and the SIC spent most of Wednesday dealing with the spill on a shoreline area near the terminal’s entrance and she said a “period of prolonged extreme rainfall” was the main contributor to the incident.
She said: “It appeared that the release of oily water had occurred during a period of extremely heavy rain, [which] caused an overflow of the oily water drainage system.”
The oil was cleared from the water by dark on Wednesday, although it is understood that more oil was being cleared from the beach yesterday morning.
SEPA’s unit manager in Shetland David Okill said staff had been at the terminal to inspect the area and take samples on Wednesday and the body is waiting for analysis of the samples before considering what further action to take.
A similar incident took place in January this year when a sheen of oil was visible in the water at Sella Ness, but the BP spokeswoman said it was “too early” to draw any parallels with the previous incident and that it was unclear what proportion of the spillage consisted of oil. She said: “We need to carry out the investigation to understand exactly what happened.”
Terminal manager Lindsay Boswell was again unavailable for comment and had not responded to messages to call back when The Shetland Times went to press this week.