Sunderland City Council advises “precautionary” public health measures as diesel spill clean-up continues in South Hylton
The spillage was caused by a leakage of red diesel from a tank at the City Council’s South Hylton depot which ran into a drainage culvert exiting at Pottery Lane.
The incident happened overnight on Monday November 8 into Tuesday morning. The Environment Agency were informed and specialist equipment and teams were deployed to contain and clear the spillage and prevent pollution entering into the Wear Estuary.
After confirming work was still ongoing to “monitor, contain and clean-up the spill”, a spokesman for Sunderland City Council said: “No significant impacts on the River Wear have been identified. Investigations of ground conditions are continuing and at this stage it is understood that the risk to public health is low.”
However, the spokesman then went on to add: “As precautionary measures we advise the following.
"Avoid the affected culvert area and If you have been doing water sports in the affected area please make sure equipment used in the water is thoroughly washed after use and If you have been near the affected site please take extra care after returning home when removing outer garments such as shoes and wash hands thoroughly afterwards.
"Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after coming into contact with any spills of diesel or affected river water - do not just rely on hand gels but wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.”
The spokesman offered more general advise for anyone concerned about having come into contact with the spill such as not touching your face until hands have been washed.
After previously confirming the public “may notice the smell of fuel in the South Hylton riverside area” the spokesman went on to warn anyone with existing respiratory health conditions such as asthma to “make sure that you have your medications handy and if you develop symptoms you are concerned about, contact NHS 111 or your GP in the usual way”.
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Photographs and video taken from the scene showed workers dressed in high visibility jackets placing what appears to be absorption pads on the spill and using gloves and bags to clear up some of the contamination.
Following the incident, a spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “We are working closely with Sunderland City Council and other professional partners to manage this incident. Following the deployment of pollution prevention equipment by our officers, Sunderland City Council is now leading the response and have employed a specialist contractor to do this.
“We are continuing to assess the situation and we're advising the Council and their contractors on the appropriate measures of clean up and containment, but at the moment we do not believe there is any ongoing impact on the environment.”
Anyone who sees any evidence of pollution is urged to immediately report it to the Environment Agency by calling 0800 807060.