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Trinidad's Santa Flora residents fall ill after oil spill




By Sacha Wilson/ TT Guardian

Petroleumworld 10 28 2021

Santa Flora residents, including children, are falling ill while their crops have been destroyed and their animals affected after an oil spill in the community on Tuesday. 

While Heritage Petroleum Company Ltd has described the incident at the corner of Agapito and Well Roads as a minor seepage, residents say they are adversely affected. They say they are dizzy, nauseous, and experiencing headaches and shortness of breath.

Unable to bear the fumes any longer, residents came out of their homes this morning, to demand that a company representative meet with them and address their concerns.

Randy Ramjit said he observed the spill in his garden on the side of his house on Tuesday and reported it to company. While the company responded, he said no concern has been shown for the health and wellbeing of the residents. Ramjit said his wife fell ill and had to be taken to the hospital on Wednesday, while his children also are ill.

Another resident who gave her name as Alicia, said her two children, aged 15 and 9 years, are vomiting and unable to do their online classes. Noting that the community is flood prone, the residents are not satisfied with the company just covering the oil-soaked area with sand.

Ramjit said another issue is that the excavator used to cover the spill ruptured water lines in the area, and they only receive pipe borne water once every three weeks.

In a release yesterday, Heritage Petroleum stated that it was currently engaged in responding to two separate incidents at Agapito Trace, Santa Flora, and along the right of way of the Heritage Trunk Pipelines at Inverene Road in Cocoyea.

"In both instances, which involved minor seepage from nearby facilities, Heritage activated its Emergency/Oil Spill Response Protocols, which includes immediately suspending pumping operations, plugging and clamping associated pipelines, where applicable. Clean-up operations and containment were expeditiously commenced and are ongoing," Heritage reported in its statement.

The company stated that its personnel were in contact with persons impacted in the area of both incidents and were working diligently to ensure their safety and well-being and minimize impacts to them.

The company added that air quality tests continue to be conducted at both sites and the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries and all regulatory bodies have been notified.




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