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Eleuthera fuel spill clean-up still underway

  • BEC Chairman Leslie Miller (right) at the Eleuthera fuel spill site. FILE

Guardian Senior Reporter

Published: Dec 28, 2012

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Some of the 70,000 gallons of fuel that spilled at a Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) storage facility in Rock Sound, Eleuthera are floating on top of the water table, according to Patrick Bain, owner of Baychem, the company contracted by the government to clean up the spill site and recover salvageable fuel.

Bain stressed that “not that much” fuel had seeped into the ground, but said he could not be more specific because the company was still trying to quantify the fuel loss.

“It’s nearly complete; everything is under control at this point,” Bain said, when asked about the status of the clean up effort.

“It’s ongoing,” Bain added. “You don’t clean up an oil spill in one day or even one year. Quite a bit of fuel has been recovered but it hasn’t been quantified.”

After the spill, Eric Carey, executive director of the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), said he had concerns about potential contamination of the water table from the fuel spill. However, Carey said the spill would not cause any imminent threat to human health because the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) did not harness ground water from the area.

BEC Chairman Leslie Miller has said officials suspect the spill was caused by a theft attempt at the site. He has also said BEC has evidence that similar thefts have occurred at facilities in other parts of Eleuthera, including Harbour Island and Hatchet Bay.

Miller said BEC has to increase manpower at the Rock Sound facility and look at other ways to mitigate future theft.

Baychem is also working on a report for BEC that should be completed sometime in January.

Bain said his company’s report will probe all of the circumstances surrounding the spill, including the suspected theft attempt.

“I will do my own investigation into how I think the spill happened,” Bain said. “They will then compare that with their own info. I am not contracted to probe the theft, but I will also include my information.”

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