At least 20 people from four households in Fyzabad have been evacuated after a 16-inch trunk oil pipeline raptured on Sunday evening, and some residents are calling on the authority to take precautions to avoid another incident.
The oil was first spotted at around 6 pm in drains and the yards near St Marteen recreation grounds at San Francique Road, Masahood Junction, in Avocat.
When Newsday visited the area on Monday, Heritage Petroleum Company Ltd workers were cleaning up, trying to minimise the damage.
The state-owned company is housing affected residents at Paria Suites Hotel in La Romaine.
Seereta Ali, 39, said she, her husband, their two-year-old daughter, and her husband’s grandfather, 87, were among the residents who stayed overnight on Sunday at the hotel.
Ali said the fumes were unbearable. Her husband’s grandfather had an asthma attack and had to be taken away.
“We had to evacuate him immediately because he could not be in this environment.
"We saw the oil flowing in the drains. The response from Heritage was fairly fast,” Ali said on Monday.
Ali said she returned to the house on Monday to allow Heritage personnel into the property.
“I am not feeling well, so I will be heading back to the Paria Suites.”
The stay-at-home mother complained about feeling lightheaded and having blurred vision.
“In terms of how long we are being evacuated, it is a big concern. We are not sure how long we will be at the hotel.
"We had plans to get into hydroponics to bring in extra income, but now we do not know how the soil will be affected,” Ali said.
She recalled that in August last year, there was a smaller oil spill, which was contained in a day.
Another resident, who asked to remain unnamed, told Newsday the pipeline is “about 100 years old.
“The oil soaked in the yard and through the weep holes in the wall at the back of the house. We are hearing that pressure testing was being done on the line in Woodland on Sunday,"the resident said.
The Sookdeosingh family, who were not evacuated, called for the line to be relocated.
“Last night was terrible, and no one (from Heritage) has visited us up to now. We are in the dark.
"The line should be relocated further away from houses. Even if they fixed the lines in the area, they would continue to burst, because they are about 100 years old,” Ravi Sookdeosingh said.
A statement from Heritage Petroleum on Monday said at about 6.40 pm on Sunday, the company responded to the leak, which was spotted in the pipeline Right of Way.
On investigation, Heritage discovered two leaks from the 16-inch trunk oil pipeline. They were isolated and repaired within hours.
“Due to the leak, 20 people from four households have been relocated for the duration of the clean-up, and air quality monitoring is ongoing,” the statement said.
“The Heritage Incident Management Team remains onsite and continues to manage the response.”
The statement added that the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) and the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries had been informed.
Heritage promised to provide updates “as required.”