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Poor Weather Delays Byron Heights Fuel Spill Assessment

Poor Weather Delays Byron Heights Fuel Spill Assessment

By J. Brock (FINN)

A diesel spillage has occurred in the vicinity of Byron Heights on Tuesday 4th February 2014.

During refuelling, a rupture in the pipeline was identified, resulting in a loss of several thousand litres of diesel fuel into the surrounding peat. Initial assessments of the incident were delayed by poor weather conditions on the mountain. MoD and FIG environmental officers travelled to the area, and met with local landowners to discuss the situation and proposed remediation measures.

MoD personnel conducted a full walk-over of the pipeline and were able to identify the location of the rupture and extent of the spillage. The affected section of pipework was replaced, and a further section was also replaced as a precautionary measure. A series of trenches have been dug to minimise the distance that the diesel can travel, and equipment has been put in place to collect and remove as much of the spilt fuel as possible, including multiple booms on the watercourse.

Head of FIG Environmental Planning, Steve Butler visited Dunbar Farm with the MoD on Wednesday to liaise with the land owners and ensure that they were made aware of the approach to the clean-up operation. They discussed concerns and suggestions for how events could be avoided and addressed in the future. Steve says The military have undertaken to continue this dialogue, looking into why and how the incident occurred so that lessons can be learnt. We will continue to support both the military and the land owners in this on-going process.

The MoD continues to update FIG on the progress of the remediation, and every effort is being made to ensure this incident will not be repeated. Falklands Conservation have also been made aware of the incident, and it is understood that the military will seek to engage with them on the long term remediation of the area.

The fuel supply to the MoD facility at Byron Heights is replenished via a sea-level pumping station that feeds a pipeline to the fuel storage tanks at the mountain top.

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