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Kamothe pipe leak yet to be plugged, diesel enters creek

The diesel flowing out of a burst HPCL oil pipe near the Kamothe toll plaza has entered a creek that branches out from the main Taloja creek.

The ruptured pipe spewed more than 50,000 litres of diesel around noon on Thursday, and incessant overnight rains washed some of the fuel from the storm water drain into the creek. The spill is likely to damage mangroves near the creek.

An HPCL rescue operation and disaster management team of around 25 members, comprising workers and technical experts, has been working for more than 24 hours to trace the leakage spot. Initially, after the diesel leakage was spotted in the drainage channel parallel to the pipeline, the team stopped further flow by closing the pipeline’s valve at the Kopra and Panvel ends. But the team failed to stop draining of the fuel inside the pipeline as the ruptured spot could not be located.

Kalamboli fire officer M D Naik said, “The HPCL team is trying to trace the ruptured spot of the pipeline. But as the pipeline has got buried, the workers were compelled to dig up 7ft into the periphery of the concretized road to expose it to reach the ruptured spot. As a safety precaution, we have posted eight firefighters and one fire engine at the site. The HPCL team has also stationed two of its fire engines.”

HPCL said, in a statement, that it has taken urgent measures to ensure that the site of oil leakage is safe and the effect on environment is minimized. It said it was sucking out the spilled oil from the drain with sucking machines, and special booms and skimmers, and placed absorbents to prevent oil traces from cutting off the drain to stop the oil water mix from spreading out.

HPCL said a field officer of the state pollution control board has expressed satisfaction on measures taken for oil containment and removal during his site visit. “Representatives from the local forest department also visited the site and observed that the mangroves are away from the site and are not affected,” the statement said.

“Such oil spills have become common phenomena. The government has become insensitive about protecting wetlands,” said Stalin Dayanand, environmentalist and director of the NGO, Vanashakti.

Source – indiatimes


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