Old fuel tanks contaminate soil at ORIA

| 27/02/2020 | 34 Comments
Cayman News Service
Owen Roberts International Airport

(CNS): Ongoing upgrades at the Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA) have uncovered an old but previously unknown issue, namely contaminated soil from old tanks at the site of the old Rubis fuel farm. The Cayman Islands Airports Authority said the problem was discovered during excavation for the construction of the new aircraft parking area at ORIA, to the east of the current ramp, when “an odour of fuel was detected”.

The CIAA said Tuesday that the problem was being mitigated under the direction of Water Authority-Cayman and was expected to be rectified within 48 hours.

They did not say who was rectifying the issue, who was responsible or who was paying for the work.

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Category: Business, Transport

Comments (34)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Have it cleaned up in 48 hours? I don’t think so….

  2. Anonymous says:

    Should this have been picked up as part of the Geotechnical report done by the Engineer Stantec??

  3. Anonymous says:

    Who is managing this airport??? Who?? Does he do anything?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Texaco/Rubis…. 2nd event in 5 years. People don’t forget the old petrol station where the new cricket square building now is. That was the same thing. Contaminated soil!!!
    Where are the regulations which fine these irresponsible behaviors. This is unacceptable for this island. I’ve been here 12 years and wish to see these environmental legislations tightened up!

    • A Slow Death says:

      The situation is much worse now that when I arrived 30 years ago, almost every gas station in Cayman has leaked but of you’ll never hear about it, all swept under the rug, covered up with nice clean looking marl. Some buildings are are even sitting on lenses of hydrocarbons but Water Authority denies any knowledge. You wouldn’t know unless it started affecting your health and someone had the knowledge of where to start digging.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Fine them, the Offreg boys haven’t had a decent junket for a while.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Tell Rubis it’s coming out of their security deposit.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well we seem to not care when our environment is contaminated because last time I recall the dump is still standing tall and proud.

  8. Duck & Cover says:

    Cover it back up again with WAC’s help, they’re good at that and that’s business as usual in Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a lot like blaming the fire department for the dump’s fire.

      • Duck & Cover says:

        Read this: Water Authority Law 2018 rev.

        PART V – Water Pollution Control
        34. (1) A person who undertakes any activity likely to affect ground water, including –
        (a) the discharge of any wastewater effluent, trade effluent or other wastes into ground water, into or onto the ground;
        (b) the construction, replacement or alteration of canals; or
        (c) quarrying,
        except with a permit from the Authority, and subject to such terms and conditions as it deems fit, including standards of effluent quality, commits an offence.

        This area was investigated by a UK based consulting firm on behalf of CIAA a few years ago during the decommissioning of the airport tank farm. I highly doubt that the water resources engineer at WAC was unaware of this when he was involved in the tank decommissioning process.

        Just another CIG statutory body delinquent in their duties under the law. There are also grey areas and overlapping duties with the Petroleum Inspectorate, now OfReg so its easy to shift blame when it suits them both.

        • Anonymous says:

          Those old useless retired people the CIAA had who had found their comfort level handling baggage instead of managing should be made to give up their golden handshakes for this mess. But they were all appointed by a former Permanent Secretary against the advice of outside consultants.The old boys club of air-traffic, too many people holding secrets for one another.

        • Anonymous says:

          You seem to have some sort of personal vendetta rather than trying to prove a point. Sounds a lot like a disgruntled person whose permit got denied by one of their departments.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe you should try reading water authority board minutes to inform yourself

  9. Anonymous says:

    Like any other legacy environmental liability – cost should pass through to the operator, in this case Rubis/Sol. A Fuel Inspectorate Report from a few years ago, noted there are still lots of pre-Ivan underground fuel station tanks being used, with rust, water, and other contaminants. The recent earthquakes agitated all of this crud particulate at bottom of tanks to such a degree that the fuel filters at many pump locations were clogged with debris, and couldn’t pump properly. That’s what you are putting in your car at $4.85 per gallon.

    • Anonymous says:

      Old saying, ‘Make the polluter pay!’ It’s early days but odds are this is leakage and spillage from the farm, which should never have happened. Be interesting to find out what they’ve turned up because if it’s leaded Avgas we’ve got a huge problem here.

      • Wouldn’t You Like to Know says:

        This will never happen here until we’re up to our necks in it. The Water Authority do not go after the major polluters as they are “grandfathered in”. They cringe when this stuff makes headlines as it creates “work” for them. Their usual response is to deny all knowledge of wrongdoing and effect a coverup, literally.

        For all the non-believers you might ask the Water Authority who’s water supply was found to be seriously contaminated as a result of leaking gasoline at the former Shedden Road Rubis, now Cricket Square 6. Hint, if you had a coffee, soda or slurpee at this gas station over the last 20 years you most likely got a dose.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Between this and the dump our North Sound and water table must be in great shape.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are monitoring wells around the dump that are checked by overseas independent labs. Stop fear mongering.

      • Anonymous says:

        And just where is the shiny new data from analysis of these wells that shows things are squeaky clean? Can you at least provide us with the bell curved results?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes they do and it is thousands time legal limit.

  11. Anonymous says:

    It takes a lot more than 48 hours to mitigate these issues; but that’s if you care about the environment.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Those fuel tanks and the entire fuel farm existed on that site since at least the early 1960’s, therefore it should’ve been no surprise that there would have been leakage into the soil in all those years. Perhaps not directly from the tanks, but decades of refilling, spillage, tank-cleaning, etc.

    Wonder which environmental “experts” CIAA has on-board to properly assess this matter, clearly they have none in-house. Is the Water Authority the only related outside agency involved?

    In any case, Rubis could not be held responsible at this point but perhaps their predecessor Texaco which operated that fuel farm until just a few years ago.

  13. anonymous says:

    Great…. a next issue. Thanks Alden

  14. Flusher says:

    So what are the Water Authority doing, hosing it into North Sound?.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Sue Rubis for the mitigation costs!


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