Coast Guard: Rizal oil spill 'contained'
MANILA, Philippines – The oil spill affecting Rizal's river system has been contained, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said on Friday, September 11.
"[The oil spill] has been contained. The river walls just have to be cleaned," said PCG Spokesman Commander Armand Balilio.
Balilio said that there are no longer traces of oil floating on the Teresa River, where the oil spill was first detected on Tuesday, September 8, though its riverbanks still need to be scrubbed clean.
He said oil booms have been placed on the Morong-Teresa River as a "precautionary measure but other than there is no significant development."
When asked Balilio said that the clean-up operations is "not yet over."
Oil spill recovery at 70% – cement plant
Solid Cement Corporation, which is responsible for the oil leak, claimed that it has recovered 70% of the bunker fuel that it had inadvertently released into the province's river system.
“Solid Cement Corporation has already recovered about 70% of the 2,000-liter leaked bunker fuel oil from the company’s ongoing river clean-up in Rizal,” the plant’s management said in a statement on Thursday night, September 10.
Balilio said the PCG is verifying the amount of oil that had been recovered from the river.
Solid Cement also said it was doing all it can to recover more of the oil from rivers in Antipolo, Teresa, and Morong.
More than 300 volunteers were deployed by the company since Wednesday, consisting of company employees, their families, contractors, and village volunteers, who were joined by government workers.
Residents of Sitio Cabisig and San Jose village in Teresa confirmed to Rappler that contractors and company workers had visited their area to conduct cleaning operations.
The company is also working with the PCG, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Environmental Management Bureau, Laguna Lake Development Authority, and provincial and municipal governments to recover the spilled oil.
Cause of leak
The clean-up efforts mostly consist of cutting down riverside grass covered in oil and collecting them in bags, and using coco coir nets to absorb and extract oil from the water.
Solid Cement confirmed that the bunker fuel oil leaked from one of their fuel storage tanks on Monday, September 7.
Apparently, “a valve connected to one of our fuel storage tanks was not closed.”
Strong rain that night caused the leaked oil to reach nearby creeks. These waterways are connected to major rivers like Teresa and Morong River, which are tributaries of Laguna Lake.
The company is conducting an investigation into how the valve was left open.
The leaked oil caused stomach aches and dizziness in villages right beside contaminated creeks.
On Wednesday afternoon, children could still be found playing in the waterways where, despite clean-up efforts, oil still clung to riverside rocks and grass. – Rappler.com