Bulkhead at Clifton to address oil spill

Minister of the Environment Romauld Ferreira said yesterday the government has completed an $11 million bulkhead at Clifton Pier dock that is expected to address The Bahamas’ “second biggest environmental challenge”.

The dock is located opposite Bahamas Power and Light’s Clifton Pier Power Station.

“…You had members of the public going overboard to swim and coming up covered in oil,” Ferreira told reporters at Clifton Pier.

“You had the divers complaining about it… You’d see an oil plume discharging into the ocean for miles. Pilots would comment on it. This was the second biggest environmental challenge that the country faced.”

Ferreira and other officials from the Ministry of Environment toured the newly-constructed bulkhead, which was commissioned in February.

During the tour, the minister noted that “historically oil would be released into the ocean from this pier”.

“It was essentially coming from, I guess, a couple of sources: one, the oil water,” he said.

“There’s one at the western end, and then of course there are the cool water discharges. You saw them on your tour.”

Referring to the bulkhead, Ferreira said, “One of the unique features of this pier that’s been rebuilt and re-engineered and repurposed is that it has an oil collection system built into it. We saw the manholes.

“Underneath those manholes are essentially trenches in the form of a pipe and then the pier itself is lined with a particular material to stop oil from actually moving beneath our feet to the quarry and then getting into the ocean.”

He said the purpose of the bulkhead is to collect water contaminated by oil, but not store it.

“As it collects, we remove,” Ferreira said.

“So, the whole purpose is this is a part of the wider site remediation that’s going on at the Clifton Pier Power Station and at the broader Clifton Pier environment.”

He added, “We don’t know how much has been collected because we just installed the system.”

Ferreira said the project had been under budget by roughly $60,000.

It was originally expected to cost $12 million.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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