Oil moving out

The Department of Environmental Health is in the process of shipping 20,000 US gallons of used motor oil to a hazardous waste processing plant in the United States.

A tank holding nearly 5,200 US gallons of oil has already been delivered to Tampa, Florida, and next week it will be joined by three more, each containing over 5,000 gallons, states a GIS press release.

The DEH owns four 5,200 US gallon certified shipping tanks, which were stored at the George Town landfill awaiting shipment to the US prior to Hurricane Ivan. Last year’s unusually active hurricane season caused delays in the DEH’s normal shipping schedule and the department is now catching up on the backlog. In early 2004 over 10,000 US gallons (two tanks) were shipped off island for processing, taking the total of contaminated used oil collected for 2004 to over 30,000 US gallons.

Oil in these tanks is termed ‘hot oil’ since it has been analyzed by DEH and found to be contaminated with chlorinated hydrogenated compounds.

Since this oil cannot be recycled, its shipment and processing is paid for by DEH.

Once they have been emptied and cleaned at the processing plant, the DEH tanks will be returned to the island and will again function to hold future shipments of used oil.

During Hurricane Ivan, a five foot-plus surge swept through the landfill from the North Sound, dislodging nearly 900 drums containing used oil and causing an oil spill on the landfill property. Like the tanks, those drums were stored at the landfill’s recycling area awaiting shipment, prior to Hurricane Ivan.

Since the storm, a multi-agency clean-up operation has been in effect and all the displaced drums were found, the oil spilt from damaged drums removed and the environment cleaned.

Oil from the clean-up operation that contains water and other contaminants will be shipped to the US processing plant in April.