On February 3, 2019 a technical failure within the pipeline system of Namibia Dairies’ (ND) Avis plant in Windhoek led to the release of a lesser amount of approximately 6’000 litres of heavy fuel oil (HFO) into the sewerage system of Windhoek due to the primary containment that could not contain the full volumes of the spillage. The majority of the spillage was however contained on-site. The response to the incident was led by Namibia Dairies with support of relevant stakeholders. Concern about the potential impacts of the oil to the ecosystem and water reclamation systems, immediately led ND to the City of Windhoek (CoW) to request for technical assistance in assessing and minimizing the impacts and supporting the further response.
A joint Namibia Dairies / City of Windhoek Response team was subsequently formed, with the objective of the team to strengthen the efforts in containing and cleaning up the oil spillage, as well as to provide support to assessing the situation and developing an action plan for a phased response and rehabilitation initiative. The team is currently spending time in the affected area in order to determine the exact extent of the impact as this will have a direct correlation on the further response and rehabilitation actions required.
Based on the team’s observation, there is limited immediate environmental impact on the receiving environment in close proximity to the plant. However, the full extent of the downstream impact is currently being monitored and a continuous status update will be formulated as information is acquired.
All efforts are currently being undertaken to ensure that all disrupted activities can resume as soon as reasonably possible in order to minimize the cumulative impact of the event. ND is taking every effort within its control to ensure that any and all environmental contamination is dealt with in a responsible manner. All learnings from the incident will also be used to empower industry and other stakeholders to be able to respond to such unfortunate events, should it ever occur again in the future.