A pipeline between Durban and Johannesburg burst in an upmarket housing complex on Durban’s outskirts spilling 200,000 litres of diesel.
According to the Daily News newspaper the pipe burst in the early hours of Tuesday morning in the Greenvale Village Complex.
Residents at Greenvale Village complex, across the road from the Transnet Hillcrest Pump Station in Shongweni Road, woke up to the smell of diesel at 1.24am as a column of fuel sprayed from the pipeline and rained down on gardens.
By the time the pipe was shut, 200 000 litres of diesel had escaped from the underground pipe, leaving its owners with a fuel loss estimated at more than R2.4-million. The rehabilitation of the area, could run into millions of rands.
Transnet Pipelines spokeswoman, Saret Knoetze, said they had activated their emergency plan and dispatched their pipeline repair team, environmental teams and a local emergency response team.
“Two hundred thousand litres of diesel spilled from a high pressure 12 inch (30cm) steel pipe. Repairs to the pipeline will commence once it is safe to do so. The rehabilitation of the affected properties has commenced,” she said.
“The soil will be rehabilitated. The repair of the pipe will take two days. However the clean-up will take two months. “We have done an environmental assessment and thus far there is no immediate danger to the surrounding areas,” Knoetze said.
An estimated R2 434 000 worth of diesel had been lost, based on the retail price of R12.17 a litre.
Knoetze said the spill would not affect supply of fuel to Gauteng or elsewhere inland because there was an adequate stockpile and the repairs coincided with a planned shutdown.
“The pipe transports refined fuel only… Gauteng is fully stocked with diesel and unleaded petrol,” she said.
John Elmer, chairman of the complex homeowners’ association, said the pipeline burst, sending a column of diesel into the air, which rained on the gardens of some of the properties in the village.
“No one was hurt or suffered any complications from the diesel fumes,” he said.
Elmer said the complex had 62 units and the spill had only affected three homes. He said the horse grazing area and paddocks belonged to a farm nearby. The horses were in their stables at the time and were not affected.
Transnet posted security guards around the spill site to prevent people from entering the potentially hazardous zone.
Several Spill Tech trucks and workers were on site and at the pump station.