Oil Spill in Westfjords Cleaned Up Skip to content
Suðureyri harbour
Photo: Suðureyrarhöfn / Facebook. Suðureyri harbour.

Oil Spill in Westfjords Cleaned Up

The diesel oil that leaked from a reserve tank into Suðureyri harbour, in the Westfjords, has now been cleaned up, RÚV reports. The location will be monitored to determine whether there is still contamination once the snow melts.

Over 9,000 litres of diesel oil spilt into Suðureyri harbour on Thursday, March 3, more than two weeks ago. The leak, which originated from a reserve tank owned by the power company Orkubú Vestfjarða – and which was buried in snow – was discovered by residents the following morning.

The oil found its way into a pond near the local swimming pool, and from there into the harbour. It wasn’t until three days after the leak was reported that hoses were placed in the water to try to prevent the leak from spreading. The oil was particularly harmful to local birdlife: hundreds of eider ducks died or had to be put down as a result of the oil, though some were saved thanks to locals’ efforts.

Sigríður Kistinsdóttir, team leader of pollution prevention at the Environment Agency of Iceland, says cleaning of the pond and harbour has gone well and will be completed this weekend. Stormy weather has also helped disperse the oil, she added.

A town meeting will be held in Suðureyri this week, where representatives of Orkubú Vestfjarða and the Westfjords Public Health Authority will be present. Residents and others involved in the clean-up efforts can attend.

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