PORT of Portland’s pitch spill incident is officially over, but the effects of the week-long crisis are likely to be felt for some time to come.
A week after more than 600 tonnes of hot pitch escaped from a Koppers storage tank at the port, CFA officers formally declared the incident over.
A ship bearing the remaining hot pitch pumped from the stricken tank has arrived in Newcastle. The leaked pitch quickly dried and hardened, rendering it harmless. Front-end loaders are taking it away.
More than 400,000 litres of water that was pumped on to cool the leaking hot pitch had to be removed and is being treated off-site by specialist contractors. Crews filled more than 4000 sandbags that were placed around the leaking pitch to reduce the amount of environmental damage.
There are no longer any road closures in the area, however speed restrictions will be in place during the recovery process at the clean-up site.
A Victorian Health Department advisory said the amount of coal tar pitch fumes discharged over residential areas was minimal, so the risk of anyone’s roof being contaminated was also minimal. For that reason, they said testing your tank water is not necessary.
Read more in Friday’s edition of the Portland Observer.