15th November 2018
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Oil spill clean up a ‘success’ – Sepa

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A CLEAN UP operation is continuing after a major oil spill in Scalloway last week.

Around 2,000 litres of black waste engine oil leaked from a ruptured storage tank in the old bus depot below the Scord quarry in the early hours of Friday morning.

The SIC’s ports and harbour department immediately began cleaning up the pollution when a member of the public spotted a sheen on the water at East Voe at around 1am.

Experts from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) were also on the scene to help clear up the mess.

The oil leaked from the tank into a drain before being discharged into a field at the bottom of the Scord where it contaminated the grass.

The discharge then found its way into an open drain, from where some of it leaked out into the voe.

General manager of ports and harbour Jim Dickson said most of the oil had contaminated a field where a number of ponies were being kept.The ponies were not badly affected by the contamination, and were later moved.

The depot from were the oil leaked is owned by construction firm MK Leslie.

Sepa spokesman Dave Okill said the clear up had been very successful, despite the need to maintain a presence in the area in the meantime.

He said most of the contaminated gravel at the depot had already been removed, and parts of the field where the oil had reached on its way to the water had also been skimmed.

A gully sucker (or vacuum tank) was used to suck out the ponding oil in ditches.

Booms and absorbant mats were also used to collect as much of the discharged oil as possible, but efforts to mop up the remaining pollution are continuing this week.

“There is still some oil coming down the drain, but small amounts will be coming out over quite a long time,” said Mr Okill.

“We’ve built a sump where the drain enters the field so any oil still coming down the drain should be collected. It was a very good clean up.”

Mr Dickson said absorbant booms which had been “catching a fair bit of scum” would be checked and, where necessary, replaced twice a day throughout the week. He added the weather had been kind enough on Friday to allow the work to be done.

Subsequent heavy rain showers should not hamper things too much, he said, because most of the oil has been cleared up.

He added the used engine oil leaked came as something of a “double whammy”, because it was filled with contaminants from engines.