Fuel distributor GB Oils has been fined £5,000 for polluting a tributary of the River Clyst near Dart Business Park, Clyst St George, near Exeter, Devon, with red diesel.
On July 24, 2009, a significant quantity of red diesel was seen in the watercourse. Booms and pads were put across the tributary to contain the pollution and the Environment Agency used more than 100 filled sandbags for construction of a weir to contain diesel.
Further investigation traced the leak to fuel distributor GB Oils, trading as OJ Williams. The company was not showing any loss of oil on their computer system. However, a pressure test and ground excavation revealed a hole in a supply pipe to a fuel dispensing island.
A quantity of oil entered the watercourse but the majority was contained in a 100 metre section. The River Clyst is a SSSI (site of special scientific interest), a SPA (special protection area) and a RAMSAR site (a wetland site with international importance).
The magistrates court recognised the work undertaken by the company to remediate the environmental impact of the spillage.
“We believe that 22,000 litres of red diesel had been lost to the ground near the fuel island. An accurate fuel measuring system within storage tanks and leak detection on pipe work would have alerted the company early on and avoided a major oil spill,” said Mischka Hewins for the Environment Agency.
GB Oils Ltd (trading as OJ Williams) of Dart Business Park, Clyst St George, Exeter, were fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,700 costs after admitting causing polluting matter, namely oil, to enter controlled water contrary to Section 85(1) of the Water Resources Act 1991.
(from a press release)