Featured image: Dusi Media Office
Revealing photos of the catastrophic industrial spill at the Willowton Oil plant in Pietermaritzburg have surfaced from a source inside the plant responsible for one of the worst environmental disasters of its kind in South Africa.
Here is what Willowton Oil said about the accident, presumably caused by corrosion and metal fatigue.
At 16h03 on Tuesday 13th August an unforeseen accident took place at our manufacturing facility in Pietermaritzburg. A vegetable oil storage tank collapsed and in the process brought down an adjacent tank. The force and weight of the collapsing tanks damaged an additional two tanks and caused the bund wall in place to break. While our storm water system flows into purpose-built containment dams to contain any spillage, they could not withstand the resultant volume. The Willowton team immediately took the necessary action to seal the storm water outlets. Within minutes of the tank spillage, two emergency spill teams were notified and responded immediately. The response from both the Willowton team and emergency spill teams ensured that the majority of the spillage was contained on site. – Willowton Group.
Responding to queries about the photos. the Willowton Group, said: “The images depict the factory site at various points after the tanks came down on Tuesday afternoon the 13th August. Respondents from the emergency spill teams arrived on site within 20-25 minutes of the accident and within an hour had booms and absorbent into the Baynespruit to stem and contain the flow of product that had not been contained on site. All containment measures were immediately put in place by the responding spill teams.”
Countless numbers of fish have died in the Msunduzi river following the Willowton Oil factory spill. These photos were taken more than 40 km downstream of the plant. Photos: Dusi Media Office
CAUSTIC WATERS: The spill turned the river soapy gray.
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