Fuel spill near Miramar wharf

TIM DONOGHUE
Last updated 14:19 28/03/2014

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Wellington

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Jet fuel from a Miramar fuel tank facility has polluted Wellington Harbour near Miramar wharf via a stormwater drain.

A spokeswoman for ExxonMobil, Samantha Potts, today confirmed about two litres of jet fuel mixed with water had polluted the harbour at the Miramar depot during routine testing of a jet fuel pipeline.

Nearby residents and workers told The Dominion Post on Thursday night they felt ill after smelling a strong smell of kerosene after the jet fuel escaped in to Wellington Harbour.

''Initial investigations have found that the odour was due to water containing a small amount of jet fuel which appears to have entered a storm water drain at the Miramar depot during routine testing of a jet fuel pipeline,'' Ms Potts said.

The operators of the tank farm, which supplies jet fuel to Wellington Airport via a pipeline, were working with the Greater Wellington Regional Council to remove any remaining fuel from the drain it leaked through.

Ms Potts said wind are helped to disperse the fuel, but it was investigating deploying a boom as a precaution.

The issue had been sourced to a separator unit which has been shutdown until further investigations can be carried out, Ms Potts said.

Work associated with pipeline testing had been stopped while the clean-up operation was undertaken.

Harbourmaster Mike Pryce also confirmed a quantity of jet kerosene had entered the harbour via the stormwater drain.

''I am happy the mystery of the source of the jet fuel has been confirmed.

"We look forward to the environment being returned to normal as quickly as possible,'' Captain Pryce said.

The pollution had resulted in a light sheen appearing on the surface of the water between Miramar Wharf and Cobham Drive at the northern end of Wellington Airport.

ExxonMobil said the spill was gone by midday on Friday.

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- The Dominion Post

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