Vanguard (Lagos)

4 April 2006

Nigeria: Government Investigation Indicts Shell over Toxic Waste

THE Ministerial investigation committee into alleged dumping of toxic waste by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) at Igbeku and Ejekimoni communities of Sapele local government area of Delta State has come up with recommendations for the company to remove and treat in situ the "alleged buried waste" to acceptable statutory levels.

The ministerial committee disclosed that its recommendations follows a detailed site assessment to delineate and determine the size, and spread of the contaminants, as well as institute post corrective action compliance monitoring plan to ensure that the mitigation measures are effective and the sites do not pose a running risk to the wider environment.

The committee, which has as its chairman, the secretary to the state government, in a recently issued statement confirmed that an independent consultant in the name of Global Environmental Consultants limited, was contacted to carry out the analysis and that ten analytical procedures and tests were carried out.

The scope of the study consisted of four major sections; characterization of tests sediment (alleged buried waste)samples, Toxicity Bioassays, Biodegradability assessment of tests substance and Hazard risk assessment.

All the collected samples were homogenized and shared between the independent consultants, SPDC, and federal ministry of environment for independent analysis. Analytical procedures as well as required parameters were specified inline with the Federal Ministry of Environment, guidelines and other recognized international laboratories standards.

The new England Testing Laboratory Improved Standard Methodology was used for characterizing and decoding the alleged buried waste samples from the Amukpe/Rapele Trunk line Crude oil sample for point sourcedetermination, bioassay toxicity and degrade-ability testing with the following results and findings.

The result of the study carried out by the committee shows that the Igbeku-Ejekimoni "alleged waste" samples contains petroleum hydrocarbon fraction residues that are identical and consistent with the Amukpe/Rapele Trunk Line crude oil sample, and therefore probably derived from past spills recorded in the area.

The varied toxicity of the test samples and correlation of petroleum degrading bacteria population and TPH concentrations are indicative of degrade-ability of the "alleged buried wastes" hence the low Hazard Risk Assessment rating of the sites if it is properly managed.

The Global Environmental Consultants Limited was appointed to carry out the investigation studies in line with the terms of reference of the ministerial committee, and had carried out a field visit to the alleged burial sites in company of all members of the committee.

During the visit the team inspected and collected four water samples and seven soil samples from the alleged burial sites in Igbeku and Ejekimoni communities.

Another scheduled visit comprising of members of the committee and the independent consultants brought about the collection of additional six soil, five water, and six vegetation samples for analysis. Following which the team made a final scheduled visit to sapele flow station for the collection of crude oil sample from the Amukpe/Rapele Trunk line.

THE Ministerial investigation committee into alleged dumping of toxic waste by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) at Igbeku and Ejekimoni communities of Sapele local government area of Delta State has come up with recommendations for the company to remove and treat in situ the "alleged buried waste" to acceptable statutory levels.

The ministerial committee disclosed that its recommendations follows a detailed site assessment to delineate and determine the size, and spread of the contaminants, as well as institute post corrective action compliance monitoring plan to ensure that the mitigation measures are effective and the sites do not pose a running risk to the wider environment.

The committee, which has as its chairman, the secretary to the state government, in a recently issued statement confirmed that an independent consultant in the name of Global Environmental Consultants limited, was contacted to carry out the analysis and that ten analytical procedures and tests were carried out.

The scope of the study consisted of four major sections; characterization of tests sediment (alleged buried waste)samples, Toxicity Bioassays, Biodegradability assessment of tests substance and Hazard risk assessment.

All the collected samples were homogenized and shared between the independent consultants, SPDC, and federal ministry of environment for independent analysis. Analytical procedures as well as required parameters were specified inline with the Federal Ministry of Environment, guidelines and other recognized international laboratories standards.

The new England Testing Laboratory Improved Standard Methodology was used for characterizing and decoding the alleged buried waste samples from the Amukpe/Rapele Trunk line Crude oil sample for point sourcedetermination, bioassay toxicity and degrade-ability testing with the following results and findings.

The result of the study carried out by the committee shows that the Igbeku-Ejekimoni "alleged waste" samples contains petroleum hydrocarbon fraction residues that are identical and consistent with the Amukpe/Rapele Trunk Line crude oil sample, and therefore probably derived from past spills recorded in the area.

The varied toxicity of the test samples and correlation of petroleum degrading bacteria population and TPH concentrations are indicative of degrade-ability of the "alleged buried wastes" hence the low Hazard Risk Assessment rating of the sites if it is properly managed.

The Global Environmental Consultants Limited was appointed to carry out the investigation studies in line with the terms of reference of the ministerial committee, and had carried out a field visit to the alleged burial sites in company of all members of the committee.

During the visit the team inspected and collected four water samples and seven soil samples from the alleged burial sites in Igbeku and Ejekimoni communities.

Another scheduled visit comprising of members of the committee and the independent consultants brought about the collection of additional six soil, five water, and six vegetation samples for analysis. Following which the team made a final scheduled visit to sapele flow station for the collection of crude oil sample from the Amukpe/Rapele Trunk line.

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