Third oil spill on Singapore roads since Friday

The clean-up crew trying to funnel the palm oil from the tanker into empty oil drums. Remnants of Friday's oil spill that caused a massive traffic jam on the Bukit Timah Expressway are still being cleared, with some pooling in a drain leading from the exp
The clean-up crew trying to funnel the palm oil from the tanker into empty oil drums. Remnants of Friday's oil spill that caused a massive traffic jam on the Bukit Timah Expressway are still being cleared, with some pooling in a drain leading from the expressway to Mandai Road.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

2 lanes on Kampong Bahru Rd closed yesterday for resurfacing; BKE clean-up still ongoing

An oil spill yesterday, the third since Friday, resulted in two lanes on Kampong Bahru Road having to be closed to be resurfaced.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it was alerted at 2.15pm to the spill on the arterial road, in the direction of Jalan Bukit Merah near the Sikh Temple. The road was re-opened at 10.25pm.

Neither the type of oil that was spilled nor the vehicle responsible was identified, but it comes even while remnants of the oil spill that caused a massive traffic jam on the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) on Friday are still being cleared, with some pooling in a drain leading from the expressway to Mandai Road. The spill was the result of a collision between a Malaysia-registered palm-oil tanker and a car.

Stretching several hundred metres, the oil had solidified in some sections of the drain and spilled onto the surrounding vegetation.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) told The Straits Times: "NEA is aware of the oil remnants on the land near Mandai Road and we are in the process of cleaning up the oil remnants.

"As the bulk of the palm oil spill has been cleaned up, there is minimal impact on the environment."

CLEAN-UP TAKING PLACE

NEA is aware of the oil remnants on the land near Mandai Road and we are in the process of cleaning up the oil remnants.

NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

The affected BKE stretch, as well as the drains and associated drop- inlet chambers of the expressway, were all clear of oil, it said.

After the early-morning incident on Friday, the NEA had contracted Chye Thiam Maintenance to conduct the initial clean-up, which was completed at about 1pm that day. The clean-up strategy included the use of oil absorbent pads and oil booms, the NEA said in a statement.

The clean-up crew had also channelled the oil into the storm drains at the shoulder of the expressway, the supervisor of the maintenance crew told The Straits Times. A two-man team was also deployed underneath the highway to clean up the channelled oil through the use of oil absorbent pads, he added.

Veterinarian Kerrie Lek told The Straits Times that palm oil may potentially pose health risks to animals depending on the amount consumed.

"Palm oil can degrade, become rancid or contaminated, and when ingested in significant amounts it may potentially pose health risks to animals," said the veterinary surgeon at Passion Veterinary Clinic.

But Friday's oil spill is unlikely to have much impact on wildlife and vegetation because of the comparatively small amount spilled, said Assistant Professor Victor Chang, deputy director of Nanyang Technological University's Residues & Resource Reclamation Centre.

Still, if left uncleared, the palm oil could take up to months to degrade naturally, he added, especially in places where there is less sunshine or air flow.

On Monday, an oil spill on the Pan-Island Expressway near Jurong Town Hall Road exit resulted in two lanes being closed to traffic for about four hours.

The SCDF said it attended to 1,625 and 1,597 oil spills on the roads last year and in 2014, respectively, most of them minor.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 03, 2016, with the headline 'Third oil spill on S'pore roads since Friday'. Print Edition | Subscribe