As part of an investigation about the offensive odour complaints coming from residents in Mossel Bay, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Air Quality (AQ) and PetroSA convened a two-weekly meeting on odours in communities.
The latest odours originate most likely from an oily effluent spill in the two storm-water dams on the refinery site. This incident was reported to the authorities and discussed in length at an engagement, followed by a media statement by PetroSA which addressed details of the incident. As part of the action list emanating from the meeting, GRDM visited the site and incident on October 6. During the site visit, the GRDM AQ Unit was joined by Rudzani Makahane, Water Use Officer of the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency.
The oil spill into the storm water system was confirmed as signs of oil residue was visible in both the storm water ponds and the Blind River. There was a distinct pungent smell of hydrocarbons present at the ponds.
Although, the GRDM is the Air Quality Licencing Authority for PetroSA, and offensive odours form part of air pollution, the primary origin of the odour is storm water. Thus, the primary source must be addressed in order to mitigate the air quality offensive odours (secondary matter).
The GRDM proposed that the incident needed to be addressed through a multi-sector approach by all applicable authorities.
The case has also been referred to the Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, as well as the National Department of Environmental Affairs and Fisheries (DEFF). The GRDM will continue to put pressure on the relevant authorities to act in terms of their respective jurisdictions.