Clear up operation after diesel leak

PUBLISHED: 12:27 25 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:43 03 March 2010

AN all-night operation to stop a diesel spillage infiltrating Felixstowe's multi-million pound hi-tech sewage works today ended in success.

P2 lead for fx edition

By Richard Cornwell

AN all-night operation to stop a diesel spillage infiltrating Felixstowe's multi-million pound hi-tech sewage works today ended in success.

Workers were still carrying out some clearing up and were expected to be at the scene of the spill most of the day, but they said the fuel had not got into the sewerage system.

The emergency arose last night after hundreds of litres of diesel poured from a lorry at a filling station, sparking fears of pollution.

Anglian Water and the Environment Agency were called to the scene by Suffolk Fire Service after the diesel seeped into a nearby drain.

The spillage at the BP garage in Anzani Avenue, just outside Felixstowe Port and alongside an A14 sliproad, was caused by a lorry which had a split in its fuel tank.

The experts first priority was to trace the watercourse to see how much diesel had got into the drainage system and assess whether there was likely to be any environmental damage.

The low-lying area around the port – much of it reclaimed land – is riddled with drainage ditches and culverts to stop the area from being flooded.

A spokesman for Anglian Water said the company attended the scene of the incident as a matter of standard procedure.

"We will be out there as a precautionary measure just in case the product does get into the sewage system," she said.

"Sewage works are a natural process with bacteria, all we do is speed up what happens with nature. If large amounts of diesel got into the system it could upset the works and kill some bacteria off, upsetting the process.

"Sometimes it is possible to filter through small amounts of diesel, but a large quantity all at once from a spillage like this could put a tank out of action.

"The operation though has gone well and we are very pleased. We have managed to hold the flows at a pumping station and none of the diesel got into the sewage works.

"The diesel is currently being tankered away and we will have people at the works all day to monitor the process."

The sewage treatment works in Walton Avenue was constructed a part of the £14 million Clearwater Scheme in the late 1990s to give the growing seaside town a modern sewerage disposal system.

About 400 litres of diesel is believed to have spilled onto the garage forecourt.

Fire crews from Felixstowe dealt with the clean up operation along with officials from AW and the Environment Agency.

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