Clean-up removes 400,000 litres of oily water from Poole Harbour after spill

A total of 417,000 litres of oily water and 300 bags of waste have been collected as part of the clean-up operation following the oil leak in Poole Harbour.

About 200 barrels of reservoir fluid made up of 85% water and 15% oil were released into Ower Bay last month from q pipeline operated by gas company Perenco, prompting a major containment and clean-up operation to protect the sensitive natural habitats in the area.

Now, Poole Harbour Commissioners (PHC) have said that “good progress” is being made and no oil had been spotted outside of the harbour.

At least 30 oiled birds have been spotted since the spill although no “serious” bird casualties had been reported, the PHC has said previously.

Poole oil spill
Oil was visible in the water of Poole Harbour, Dorset, after the leak (Ben Birchall/PA)

“Focus is centred around the site of the leak in Ower Bay and a recovery co-ordinating group has been set up to oversee the remediation of the affected area.

“Floating booms remain in place to ensure that oil does not escape in to the wider harbour.

“So far, over 300 bags of oil and contaminated materials have been collected from the beaches as well as 417,000 litres of oil and oily water collected to tankers from Ower Bay.

“The clean-up and remediation operation will continue at Ower Bay until the contamination has been fully dealt with.”

A Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole Council spokeswoman said that shellfishing sites could reopen from Thursday, April 20, but advised operators to continue testing their catches.

She said: “The Food Standards Agency have advised that operators of these sites should continue to take appropriate action to ensure that any harvested shellfish are fit for consumption.

“The wild shellfish beds are fished on a seasonal basis and are currently closed to dredging until 25 May 2023.

“Additional sampling has been carried out of these sites and the results, expected within two weeks, will enable an informed decision to be made as to whether fishing can safely commence when the season opens.

“The advice remains that hand gathering of shellfish from the intertidal zone should not be carried out until the results from these areas has been received.”

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