CITY OF CALAPAN — About 10 hectares of farmland and a creek in this city were damaged when oil leaked from a tank in a power plant here during heavy rains on Monday.
In an interview on Tuesday, Alfonso Javier, provincial environment management officer of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in Oriental Mindoro province, said the leak had been contained about six hours later, through the use of booms and absorbent pillows.
The spill came from the buffer tank of DMCI Power Corp., which has been operating a 15-megawatt bunker-fired diesel plant in Barangay Sta. Isabel for the last three years.
Personnel from the EMB had collected samples of the sludge for analysis.
DMCI, in a statement, said 800 liters of oil leaked from its tank yard at 3:30 a.m. on Monday due to a faulty sensor in its buffer fuel tank.
“The said sensor failed to stop the continuous transfer of fuel from the main storage tank to the buffer tank, causing the latter to overflow,” the statement said.
“The continuous heavy rains during the past days contributed to the strong outflow of water from the plant, causing the leaked oil
to rapidly reach the surrounding creek and rice fields,” DMCI said.
Javier said the buffer tank has a carrying capacity of 60,000 liters of fuel.
The spill was contained around 9:30 a.m. Monday, although the sludge had already damaged around 10 hectares of farmland and a nearby creek.
“There were around 10 kilograms of dead crabs recovered from a fishpond affected by the spill,” Javier said by telephone.
Javier said the EMB found the company guilty of “negligence.” But he said DMCI agreed to compensate the affected residents.
DMCI said the company was taking the incident “very seriously” as it continued its investigation.
“We are also improving our protocols for calibrating all fuel sensors, and redesigning the existing retaining wall around our oil storage containers to prevent a recurrence of this incident,” it said. —Reports from Madonna Virola and Maricar Cinco