Petrotrin issued a release on Sunday stating most of the slop oil that flowed into the Guaracara River from a leaking tank at Petrotrin’s Pointe-a-Pierre Refinery has been recovered.
On July 29, slop oil (a mixture of oil and other substances) from tank MP6 at Petrotrin’s Pointe-a-Pierre refinery leaked into the Guaracara River, Marabella affecting almost 200 residents.
“Petrotrin’s team is now satisfied that most of the heavy oil has been recovered from the Guaracara River. Having achieved the first phase of the clean-up involving the containment within the Guaracara River, clean-up and recovery efforts will move into the second phase which will involve cleaning along the river bank. Clean-up operations within the refinery is ongoing”, stated the release.
Petrotrin also said yesterday most of the residents who were evacuated on account of the fumes have returned to their homes.
Residents with concerns can continue to call Petrotrin’s 24-hour emergency hotline at 658-4200 ext. 2410.
ASTHMA patient Glenis Quashie-Dalyrimple who, with her family was evacuated last week from her Marabella home to escape the fumes of the oil spill in the Guaracara River was able to return home on Sunday.
Quashie-Dalyrimple said her family returned home at around 8 o’clock in the morning after being told by Petrotrin officials that air quality testing indicated that the environment was safe.
“I am happy, and my family is happy to be back in our home”, she said.
Quashie-Dalyrimple, 35, her three children, and husband, David Dalyrimple, were the only people to be evacuated from their home in the wake of spill into the river which runs behind their home at Silk Cotton Road, Battoo Avenue.
The family was accommodated at the Golden Jubilee Guest House at Plaisance Park, Pointe-a-Pierre, at the expense of Petrotrin.
The fumes from the oil, spilled into the river mere metres from their home, caused medical problems for the family during the first week of the spill. Quashie-Dalyrimple was taken by ambulance on three occasions to be nebulised at Petrotrin’s Augustus Long Hospital in Pointe-a-Pierre, and the children complained of dizziness, nausea, and stomach aches.
The family spent a night at a 24-hour emergency shelter at the Marabella North Government Secondary School at Union Road, where there are volunteers, security guards and doctors between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., before moving in the guest house.
Shortly after the spill, residents of Silk Cotton Road, Battoo Avenue, and a few other houses in surrounding streets complained of shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, burning to the eyes, nose and throat, and tightness in the chest.
Quashie-Dalyrimple, who has lived there all of her life, said intermittently oil would be seen in the river, but this was one of the worst instances she could remember.
Quashie-Dalyrimple said yesterday while “there’s no place like home”, she is still coughing.
“I am glad to be back, but I am still coughing a lot here. But I am trying to put my house in order so I am trying not to let it bother me. I took down all of my curtains and put them to wash as well as our bedsheets and clothes. I am washing with the products that Petrotrin officials gave to us”, said Quashie-Dalyrimple.
On Saturday, Marabella residents affected by the recent oil spill received cleaning agents from Petrotrin.
Quashie-Dalyrimple said the products were “normal soap powder and baking soda”.
Petrotrin has since suspended ten employees to facilitate ongoing investigations.
Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs Kevin Ramnarine paid a third visit to the refinery on Saturday after residents complained of feeling ill and that Petrotrin was not doing enough to assist them.
Meetings were subsequently held with Petrotrin officials to discuss their issues.
Another resident, Rosemary Mitchell, said she received packs of soap powder and baking soda and a bottle of vinegar.
Meals provided to affected residents were last distributed eight days ago and a hamper with grocery items was also given out.
But Mitchell said that was not enough.
She said: “People are just coming here and dropping things. Nobody is telling us what is happening. I want information about compensation. I am a seamstress and I could not work in my house because of the state of the environment. I lost a lot of work for Emancipation. Petrotrin need to come and talk to us about these things.”