DINALUPIHAN, Bataan: The Environment Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on Sunday said it considers the present fuel leak in Dinalupihan, Bataan more serious, as the search for the source of the leakage of unleaded gasoline continued on the third day.
“Mas grabe ito dahil dikit at diretso sa ilog. Noon madaling na-kontrol dahil ang oil leak sa drainage canal [It is more serious because it adjoins the river and flows directly into it. Before, it was easier to control because the oil leak involved the drainage canal],” Engr. Climaco Jurado, Jr. of the EMB in Region 3 said.
He said the oil leak poses danger. “May danger ito kasi gasolina ang laman. Naaamoy ng tao kaya may effect sa tao [It poses danger because it contains gasoline. It can be smelled, so it affects people],” Jurado said.
The present oil leak in the 94-kilometer pipeline from Subic Bay Freeport to Clark in Angeles City, Pampanga was discovered Friday in Barangay Luakan, Dinalupihan. The pipeline in Luakan rests in the portion of the river below the bridge.
Last February 4, an oil leak was found along the concrete culvert of a drainage canal in Barangay San Ramon, also in Dinalupihan.
Jurado said workers of Coastal Corporation, the company maintaining the pipeline owned by the Clark Pipeline and Depot Company Inc., have pinpointed the site of the pipes on Saturday night. “Nakita na kung saan ang pipeline pero hindi pa nakikita ang portion kung saan may leak [The pipeline has been located, but the leaking portion has yet to be found],” the engineer said.
He said the water in the river where the pipeline is located has to be drained for the pipes to be exposed.
Coastal officials in the area begged off to be interviewed. They prevented taking of video near the affected area. “Delikadong sumabog tayo [There is the danger of explosion],” they said.
Jurado said EMB was in the area to make sure that proper containment methods are applied. “May possibility na maapektuhan ang ilog kaya tinitingnan natin para hindi maapektuhan ang water bodies [There is the possibility that the river will be affected, so we are checking it, to prevent water bodies from being affected],” he said.
He said they were collecting water samples downstream and upstream of the river for laboratory analysis. “Gusto nating malaman agad kung tama ba o may kulang pa sa ginagawang oil containment [We would like to know whether or not the oil containment being made is sufficient],” Jurado said.
Rosemarie Jocson, who lives near the Luakan bridge, uses a face mask distributed by the municipal government.
“Matindi ang amoy simula noong alas-2 ng hapon noong Biyernes [The odor was terrible since 2 p.m. last Friday],” the woman said.
She said one of her grandchildren complained of aching stomach upon inhaling the bad odor from the fuel.
The big buck hoe that was seen busy excavating on Saturday was on rest while workers below the bridge siphoned off and collected oil residues for loading to a small and a big fuel tankers.
Oil spill booms were seen at the river. Workers on the opposite side of the bridge collected oil residues and placed it in oil drums.